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Google's Nest for your home
Google thinks its move into the home with the acquisition of Nest for a cool $3.2 billion is well worth the cash.
Why? Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett stated, "Google's acquisition of Nest affirms the growing strategic importance of the idea of the connected home. It also shows that Google increasingly believes in hardware/software solutions, such as Nest has built, rather than just building operating systems for other manufacturers to implement in smartphones, Chromebooks, and TVs."
So what in terms of gadgets did Google get? Well, for now, not that much. At this time, Nest only offers a smart thermostat, the $249 Nest Learning Thermostat and a smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector, the $99 Nest Protect.
These devices may not sound that exciting, but with remote smartphone control and the Theromstat's ability to control "smart-grid heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) devices," Nextmarket expects Nest to sell 200,000 units a month in 2014. For the HVAC business, this is big business.
As for Nest Protect, I predict it's going to have a great future for one reason alone: No low-battery chirps. Hallelujah!
Google is also expected to add a lot more devices to Nest's Internet of Things (IoT) family.
The Return of Chumby
Chumby, one of the first home IoT devices powered by Linux, or by any other operating system for that matter, appeared in 2008. This product went unsupported for over a year, but recently Chumby, a cute touchscreen gadget that looks like an alarm clock, has risen from the grave.
During its hiatus, you could still use a Chumby as an Internet music player, and yes, an alarm clock. Today, the company promises that it has over a thousand applications. Some of these apps — a San Diego Zoo Webcam? — are not really apps at all. Others, like a bandwidth monitor that lets you see what your internet connectivity looks like from your router, are more interesting.
Accessing these new apps wil run you $3 a month. The old Chumby models will work with the new services. If you want a new one, the Chumby One, which looks like the old model, will run you $79.99. The Chumby 8, which is more streamlined and comes in red and black costs $99.99.