Nest Labs releases upgraded version of its Learning Thermostat
Apple fans with vivid imaginations love to dream up all kinds of fictional Apple products. iCars, iFridges, and iBoats may never see the light of day, but there is one home appliance that requires a bit less imagination. Former Apple exec Tony Fadell, who was instrumental in creating the iPod, brought his Cupertino schooling to the world of thermostats. The resulting original Nest thermostat was a hit, and – much like with an iPhone or iPad – its sequel is here, nearly a year later.
The second-generation Nest is 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, and, according to the company's presser, is "compatible with 95 percent of low-voltage residential heating and cooling systems." It also sports a stainless steel ring, which will (theoretically) reflect your wall's natural color, creating a more seamless aesthetic.
Like the first-generation Nest, the device is internet-enabled and can be controlled remotely via an app. It adjusts your house's temperature based on factors like time of day. Where it diverges from other smart thermostats, though, is with its simpler, slicker interface, and its relatively easy installation. It can also sync with a smartphone app (available for iOS and Android) to adjust the temperature when you leave or return home.
It's easy to joke about an Apple-like thermostat, but Nest has been a force to be reckoned with. A 2011 study by Scientific American (via CNET) concluded that most smart thermostats don't lower customers' energy bills by much due to their complicated controls. Much like with the MP3 player, smartphone, and tablet markets before Apple stepped in, Fadell saw an opportunity for simplification – and pounced.
The original Nest has (according to the company) been a best-seller at Lowe's and Amazon. It was also picked up by Apple as a third-party product sold in its online store. The new Nest is available for pre-order (for US$249) on the company's website, and will ship to North American customers in mid-October.
Have you picked up a Nest thermostat? If so, did your energy bill drop after making the switch? Let us know in those comments!
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The typical smart thermostat can not "learn". The Nest is, at the moment, in a class of it's own.
It learned my schedule very quickly, and is easy to re-program using the iPhone app. I've turned it on and off remotely, and re-adjusted the schedule because my away schedule changed.
All Hal references aside, so far, I'm completely in love with Nest.