Tony Fadell, former Apple developer who headed the iPod team, has created another innovative product at his new startup. The brains behind the iPod co-founded Nest Labs, where he put his efforts into thermostats rather than personal electronics. The Nest Learning Thermostat, announced Monday, is a smart energy-saving device that, "learns what temperatures you like so it can program itself" and "senses when you’re out and turns itself down."
The Nest uses six sensors to detect when you're out of the house and adjust its settings accordingly so that it mimics your routine. It can also give extensive tips and feedback to help reduce energy usage. For instance, the thermostat's screen will display a small green leaf if you are conserving energy compared to your normal habits. If you want to change the temperature, it will flash a message that indicates how long it will take to get to get there--a measure aimed at preventing people from making bigger changes than they would need to.
Appropriately enough, there's an app for this. The Nest can connect to a Wi-Fi network and be controlled and monitored via an iPhone or the Internet. Further reflecting the link to Apple is the design of the product itself: sleek, crisp and user-friendly. As Fadell said on his blog, "...we started from scratch with design, so it’s beautiful. Gorgeous hardware, easy install, fully integrated software.”
The product, which comes out in November but is already available for pre-order, will cost $249 to purchase. Installation costs $119 for the first Nest and $25 for each additional one. It's an initial investment, but the company estimates significant savings on energy bills in the long run.