Not having read all the books and not having total recall I cant say for sure and I would certainly like to see a recent quote from Smolin, if anyone can supply one, expressing this "hope for unification".

I received the english version of the book TRTQG a pair of weeks ago, and here are a couple of excerpts of chapter 13:
"It is then possible to entertain the following hypothesis: string theory and LQG are each part of a single theory. This new theory will have the same relationship to the existing ones as Newtonian mechanics has to Galileo's theory of falling bodies and Kepler's theory of planetary orbits.Each is correct, in the sense that it describes to a good approximation what is happening in a certain limited domain.Each solves part of the problem.But each also has limits which prevents it from forming the basis for a complete theory of nature. I believe that this the most likely way in which the theory of quantum gravity will be completed, given the present evidence"
"While my hypothesis is certainly not proven,evidence has been accumulating that string theory and LQG may describe the same world.One piece of evidence,discussed in the last chapter, is that both theories point to some version of the holographic principle.Another is that the same mathematical ideas structures keep appearing in both sides. One example iof this is a structure called noncommutative geometry"