Johnson Controls Cortana-powered thermostat to work with Alexa, Google Assistant

It turns out the Johnson Controls GLAS thermostat, now available for preorder, is built with Cortana, but also works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

After months of delays, Johnson Controls' GLAS smart thermostat hit the pre-order stage this week. The thermostat, which is available on both Amazon's and Johnson Controls' sites, costs $319 and will ship starting August 24, as reported by MSPowerUser.com.

Credit: Johnson Controls

Microsoft and Johnson Controls originally hinted about the coming Windows 10 IoT/Cortana-powered GLAS thermostat in the summer of 2017. In January 2018, Johnson Controls said the device would be available for pre-order in March 2018 (which didn't happen).

The GLAS thermostat, which uses a Snapdragon 410E embedded platform, has a translucent OLED touchscreen display for controlling temperature, monitoring indoor and outdoor air quality, and checking the weather. It also can detect when users are home or in the office and adjust settings to insure energy efficiency. And via Cortana, the thermostat also can provide users with information about their schedules, traffic, and more.

Johnson Controls is providing an accompanying smart GLAS thermostat app that allows users to set temperatures, monitor air quality and more from their iOS and Google mobile devices.

Neither Johnson Controls nor Microsoft previously disclosed that the GLAS thermostat would work with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Google Assistant, but that does, indeed, appear to be the case. A video about the device that is on Amazon.com stipulates: 's="" built="" with="" microsoft="" cortana="" and="" works="" amazon="" alexa="" the="" google="" assistant.""="">

The original spec sheet for the GLAS device (as seen here in Google's cache) didn't mention Alexa or Google Assistant at all.

I've asked both Johnson Controls and Microsoft about this seeming change in strategy; no word back from either company yet. The move isn't really surprising, given Microsoft is working to reposition Cortana as more of a productivity aide, designed to be embedded in software and services, rather than exclusively as a consumer-facing digital assistant.

Microsoft seemingly has not completely given up on the smart-home space. Recently, a Microsoft exec said the GLAS would be in Microsoft Stores as of August, but so far it isn't there, as far as I can tell. Microsoft does now have a "Connected Life" section on its online store website -- which seems to be a manifestation of its strategy to try to win back consumers -- but there's currently no mention of GLAS there, either.

Update (August 20): A few additional tidbits from a spokesperson with Johnson Controls:

The GLAS also will be available via Microsoft's Online store and its U.S.-based brick-and-mortar ones.

"Since the original announcement, compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is new," the spokesperson confirmed. "Windows 10 powers GLAS and automatically has Cortana. Alexa and Google Assistant are enabled through the GLAS skill available on the respective platforms.Our customers now have a choice to how they can interact with their beautiful GLAS thermostat."

In related news, earlier this week, Microsoft and Amazon also announced an early public preview of the promised integration between Cortana and Alexa.

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