Apple’s HomeKit partner Honeywell launches Lyric smart thermostat Nest competitor

With Apple stepping into the home automation arena by way of offering closer device integration through its new HomeKit API announced alongside iOS 8, just about every appliance in the home is potential for being refreshed and gaining deeper connectivity with our iPhones and iPads. Honeywell, a launch partner for Apple’s new home automation development tools, is today announcing its new Lyric smart thermostat to compete against similar offerings from competitors like the now Google-owned Nest. Read more

Apple’s home automation system will be less of a hub, more of a ‘made for iPhone’ program

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Acquiring the Nest Learning Thermostat was Google’s big step into home automation

As first reported on Monday, Apple is said to be preparing a home automation system for debut at WWDC next week. While this was the first anyone had heard of any such plans, several different sources have quickly come together to give an idea of how an “Apple Smart Home” will likely function.

On Monday, as noted above, the Financial Times first reported that Apple’s new program would not consist of a group of first-party automated appliances or other devices connected to an iPhone. Instead, the program will work similarly to Apple’s existing “Made for iPhone” program. Essentially the only role Apple will play is to grant special branding to compliant devices.

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GE-backed Quirky Aros is a window air conditioner with Nest smarts, controlled by iPhone

Quirky Aros window a/c unit

Finally some much needed smart appliance love for those without central air conditioning (and it’ll keep you cool): the Quirky Aros. Backed by GE, the New York-based start-up Quirky has combined the traditional window A/C unit with some very modern technologies to create the Nest (smart thermostat) of window air conditioners at a particularly reasonable price. On the surface, the Aros is an 8,000 BTU window A/C unit (rated to cool 350 square feet) with an almost Apple-like exterior (it looks as good as any window A/C unit I could imagine). Throw in touch capacitive buttons, Wi-Fi, and an iPhone and Android app for adjusting remotely and you’ve got your smart window air conditioner. The smartphone app doesn’t just let you control the temperature remotely…

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Tony Fadell and his largely ex-Apple team to become Google’s core hardware designers

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

‘Father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell (right) and the rest of the Nest team will become Google’s “core hardware group,” working on a variety of hardware projects and given access to “as many resources as it needs,” according to an unnamed source cited by TechCrunch.

The new division will still work on hardware devices, but not necessarily thermostats or smoke detectors. In fact, Google would like Fadell to work on gadgets that make more sense for the company. Will it be a phone or a tablet? It’s unclear for now [...]

When it comes to budget, Google is willing to let the Nest team use as many resources as it needs. In other words, the company is getting serious about consumer hardware, and Motorola was just a false start …  Read more

Is the Nest Protect fire alarm giving users false alarms?

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Late last September it was rumored that a smart smoke/carbon monoxide detector would join the now Google-owned Nest line of smart thermostats and was later announced in early October to a great response.

The Nest Protect, which retails for $129 in both a wired and battery powered variant, intelligently interacts with an iPhone app called Nest Home with warnings about low batteries (if applicable) and when alarms are active or about to be active. It also features a handy dismissal gesture for silencing a screaming alarm.

Some users, however, are reporting a number of unprompted false alarms unrelated to cooking or other reasonable instances. One user even reported the alarm stubbornly going off for 30 minutes in the middle of the night with no sign of smoke and ignoring prompts to dismiss the alarm after an apparent glitch in the device… Read more

Apple marketing chief Schiller unfollows Nest & Tony Fadell on Twitter following Google deal

Schiller and Fadell on the left (image via web)

Schiller and Fadell on the left

Only a few days after “father of the iPod” Tony Fadell agreed to sell thermostat and smoke detector maker Nest to Google for north of three billion dollars, Apple senior vice president (and former Fadell colleague) Phil Schiller has unfollowed the Nest CEO and the Nest company on Twitter.

Here’s Schiller’s following list from a recent cache:

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Google acquires smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion in cash, Father of iPod now Google employee

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Google has confirmed in a press release that it is acquiring Nest Labs, the company behind Nest smart thermostats and fire alarms started by Father of the iPod Tony Fadell. Earlier reports were quickly confirmed along with the transaction price of $3.2 billion in cash in an official announcement posted on the company’s Investor website. In the statement, Google said that Fadell will be staying on board as a Google employee and continuing to run Nest:
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CES 2014: Smart thermostat EverSense shows off ‘Aura’ iBeacons to intelligently adjust room temperature

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This week at CES 2014, Allure Energy, makers of a $400 smart thermostat Nest competitor called EverSense, showed off an upcoming add-on to its system that uses Apple’s new Bluetooth LE iBeacon technology. Dubbed “Aura,” the small iBeacons will become an extension to the smart EverSense thermostat by allowing iBeacons to detect iOS devices in proximity and adjust the temperature of a room accordingly. After an initial setup, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature from any room with an Aura iBeacon just by entering the room: Read more

Nest officially confirms smart smoke + carbon monoxide detector called ‘Protect’

The Nest Protect has a nice glow :-)

The Nest Protect has a nice glow :-)

We originally reported last month that Nest Labs, the company founded by famed iPod creator Tony Fadell, was readying its next product for launch soon: the smart fire detector. Nest Labs officially announced today that the ‘Nest Protect’ will be joining the lineup with the smart thermostat.

The Nest Protect detects smoke and carbon monoxide and addressses some of the flaws of modern smoke detectors and of course connects it to your iPhone in the process:

Nest believes that safety shouldn’t be annoying, so they started from scratch and built a new smoke + CO detector, the way it should be done, with advanced features under a sleek interface:

· Heads-Up: Instead of just beeping at you, Nest Protect gives you helpful vocal warnings before conditions get dangerous. And if you have more than one Nest Protect in the home, you can connect them so you’ll know where the danger is, no matter which room you’re in.

· Nest Wave: No more climbing on chairs to reach your detector. You can silence Nest Protect by simply waving at it.

· Mobile app: Get low-battery alerts and Emergency Alarm notifications on your smartphone or tablet.

· Pathlight: Nest Protect glows white as you pass under it at night, lighting your way in the dark.

The smoke + carbon monoxide detector itself has a design similar to our Apple products as it resembles Apple’s previous generation Airport Extreme base station. I really like the idea of silencing an alarm with just a wave. Wrestling with a tiny disengage button in a commotion is the last thing anyone wants. Check out availability information and the official promotional video below:  Read more

The iPodFather strikes again: Nest’s rumored next move on the “ugly white plastic crap” in our homes

Nest thermostat versus "ugly white crap" smoke detector

Nest thermostat versus “ugly white crap” smoke detector

Nest Labs, the high-profile startup created by “father of the iPod” Tony Fadell, is reportedly planning to set its sights on a hi-tech smoke detector, following the successful launch of its Learning Thermostat.

Former WSJ journalist Jessica Lessin cites “people close to the startup” as saying that the new device could go on sale later this year. It’s speculated that the smoke detector would also detect carbon monoxide, and would be offered with a subscription-based monitoring service. More mundanely, it could be silenced simply by waving at it (I’m probably not the only person whose cooking requires the occasional ability to silence a smoke detector …).

And the company doesn’t plan to stop there …  Read more