Google's got a new smart display, and trust me, it is new. The second-generation Nest Hub looks virtually identical to the original product, launched in 2018 as the Home Hub. This new device still lacks a camera, but it does have a Soli radar sensor for sleep tracking. Yes, the new Google smart display will watch you sleep, but the company stresses that it designed "Sleep Sensing" with privacy in mind. It also costs less than the first-gen display did at launch.
Owing to the pandemic, the need for meditation and a healthy sleep schedule have never been felt more acutely. If you're looking for your smartphone to help with this, there already are a bunch of apps like Headspace and Calm to choose from. If you'd like more choices, you might want to keep an eye out for the Balance app that's hitting Android devices soon.
Android apps that have to run in the background like sleep-trackers have had a rough time. Among other things, they suffer inconsistent and unreliable background app limitations across different Android versions, which can interfere with how the apps work at a very fundamental level. This doesn't fix that issue, but today Google is rolling out a specific API just for those apps, letting them pull sleep duration data right from the system itself.
Earlier this week, we learned that Google is preparing a new smart home device for a possible release this year. FCC documents showed it has a display screen, uses a 14V power supply, and comes equipped with the same Soli motion-sensing technology used by the Pixel 4 and Nest Thermostat. Now a new report claims that the sensor could be used to power a surprising new inclusion: sleep tracking.
Google Fit has been in a state of limbo for a while now. It has always lagged behind competing services from Apple, Samsung, and others, and sometimes has broke entirely. Thankfully, Google has revealed a major update to Fit today, along with a few minor new features for Wear OS.
It's fair to say that Wear OS has been stagnating lately. Google announced a few updates for its smartwatch operating system last week, but they're more like minor improvements than the major overhaul many feel the platform needs. Fossil and its subsidiaries make a lot of Wear OS watches, and now the company is taking matters into its own hands with an exclusive update that adds new health-tracking capabilities, a Phone app tile, and more.
In time for the holiday season, Fitbit is updating a whole bunch of software and services in the hopes of getting everyone excited and resolved for a healthier 2020 — just as it hopes Google ownership will improve its stance in the fitness tech marketplace. Fitbit OS 4.1 will be rolling out some features originally exclusive to the Versa 2 to other smartwatches while Fitbit Premium will be adopting more special routines to inspire some better habits.
TicWatches are among the only compelling Wear OS smartwatches not made by Fossil Group, but none of them have offered sleep tracking before, not even the flagship TicWatch Pro (reviewed here). Mobvoi is now rectifying that with the launch of a new app called TicSleep, and it's offering some discounts on its watches in celebration.
Google has announced a handful of changes to Google Fit today. In addition to the formal announcement that the dark theme is now fully rolled out (though it started happening last month), Google Fit is picking up some snazzy new charts for sleep tracking integrations which returned to the app earlier this year.
Google Fit is an excellent service for tracking your health goals and gathering data from various fitness apps on your Android device. After its big redesign last summer and the re-addition of the widget it lost during that transition, the app now receives even more formerly available features: the latest update to version 2.10.36 includes elevation charts for outdoor workouts and support for third-party sleep tracker data again — the latter being first introduced 2015.