Although they appear like stationary tablets, intelligent displays, just like the Nest Hub or Echo Show, are specifically designed to eliminate that misconception. The software, especially, has an interface that isn’t exactly conducive for physical interaction and is more geared towards voice commands with audiovisual feedback. It seems, however, that Google is taking things in a different direction with an experiment that brings a well-known app drawer to the Nest Hub.
Technically speaking, the Nest Hub platform doesn’t have apps. However, it does have Actions that fulfil that role but are more like simplified versions of apps. These weren’t designed to be accessed directly, such as you would launch apps on Android, but Google could be getting other ideas.
A post on Reddit shows a Nest Hub Max with this new app drawer. In some ways, it’s almost like the stock Android or Pixel experience, with a brief swipe up to first reveal some “Suggestions” and a fuller swipe to point out the complete grid. “Apps” are ordered alphabetically, as you’d typically see on most app launchers.
Tapping on the icons naturally launches the Actions related to them, viewing YouTube or Netflix or making a Duo call. Usually, these Actions are often started with voice command, but Google also surfaced recommended Cards from time to time. Those cards can still be accessed with a swipe from the left.
This app launcher experiment is clearly in its initial stages because the gesture recognition seems to be still unpolished. Whether it becomes a replacement staple feature of Nest Hubs is another open question, but it could change how consumers approach smart displays if it does.