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Nest founder talks durability: 'It's not like a smartphone'

updated 10:46 pm EDT, Sat March 16, 2013

Nest founder says he doesn't expect customers to buy a new unit every year

Popular iOS-compatible smart thermostat Nest isn't designed to be replaced every couple of years like the smartphones it can interface with. This according to Nest founder Matt Rogers, who touted the device's design for longevity in a "Fireside Chat" Saturday at Engadget's Expand conference. Rogers also explained that his company's thermostat--which was updated last fall with a slimmer, sleeker design and broader compatibility--is causing significant disruption in the thermostat market, which is typically dominated by companies that don't focus on design and the consumer experience.

"We don't expect people to buy a new Nest every year," Rogers explained. "It's not like a smartphone. We don't expect our users to do that. These things should stay for five or ten years, so we're relying a lot on software updates, going forward. We're going to have hardware updates, but a lot of our changes are going to come through software."

The Nest thermostat has grown to some popularity among iDevice users, thanks in part to its simplistic aesthetic and function set. That minimalism, Rogers said, isn't an accident, but is the result of dedication.

"Doing something simply is a challenge," Rogers explained. "Keeping that discipline was very challenging for all of us. We had the option to throw in a clock, so you could walk by and see what time it is. But that's something we have to fight back against every day."

Nest appeared in Apple's online store last year, and is also available in the company's retail stores. The company has since gone on to partner with a number of power providers, and Rogers says Nest is having some success in disrupting the thermostat industry, which is dominated by companies that don't normally put much focus on design.

"We're pretty disruptive in this space. It's now a consumer decision, so the customer gets to check out the device in their hands."

by MacNN Staff




  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    Great device!

    The Nest is an awesome thermostat!
    How many thermostats can evoke that kind of emotion?

  1. mytdave

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-16-00


    Well, let's see... I have an original iPhone which is over 6 years old - still working fine. So planned obsolescence is not what Apple does - that's the other guys...

    That brings me to the Nest longevity comment of 5-10 years. Well, my iPhone has already outlasted the 5-year Nest estimate... we'll see about 10 years. My point is that something like a thermostat should NEVER wear out, especially a 'smart' one that, other than the dial, has no moving parts.

    Basic digital thermostats run about $50 ($75 in the obomoconomy). If I'm going to drop $200+ on a thermostat, it better last at least 30 years - which is about the amount of life I'm expecting from my HVAC system (which is 13 years old now, so far, so good).

  1. broohaha22

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-07-06

    30 years for HVAC system?

    You're dreaming. expect 20, max.

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