A new and previously unknown thermostat from Google just hit the FCC. The (probably Nest-branded) thermostat was filed confidentially, so things like images aren't included in the FCC's library of information regarding the product, but there is one very curious detail: Explicit support for 60GHz frequencies at power levels identical to the Pixel 4. These ultra-high frequency bands are only really used for a few things, and our bet is on Google's Soli motion gestures.
The bands could be used for something else, like some kind of peer-to-peer networking, "Ultra Wideband" support for phones like the Galaxy Note20 series, or potentially so-called "WiGig" (an extension of the Wi-Fi standards up to the 60GHz frequencies). Among the different known possibilities, though, the only one that Google's really dabbled with to date is Soli, which was used on the Pixel 4 as a kind of radar to pick up gestures. Though it sucked at launch, the feature got better with time — though it was never objectively useful.
Operating frequency details, courtesy of FCC ID.io.
Details for this 60GHz transmitter almost match what we saw from the FCC last year for the Pixel 4, with similar maximum power levels. Although some of the documents have a slightly different frequency range listed, RF exposure certification documents show overlapping ranges — 58-63.5GHz for the Pixel 4, and 59-63GHz for the new thermostat. Either Google trimmed the frequencies used slightly (maybe for better resolution or for certification in more countries), or these ~60GHz frequencies are going to be used for something else.
As noted by AP alum Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica, Google has yet to release any Nest Thermostat hardware fully in-house. While the company was purchased back in 2014, it technically remained separate until 2018 when Google finally merged it into the in-house hardware division, later bringing all Home hardware under the Nest umbrella.
My bet when it comes to these new frequencies is that they're going to be used for some kind of gesture controls, letting you adjust the thermostat with a swipe or some other gesture, rather than simply relying on the many other (probably more convenient) methods, like using your phone or the Assistant. However, Soli is sensitive enough to tell when you approach the phone in a room — it could also be used as a security feature for motion detection. We'll probably hear more about it at Google's anticipated Fall event, together with the other upcoming Pixels.