Fan schedules, companion apps get tweaks
Nest Labs is pushing out a v3.5 update to owners of the Nest Learning Thermostat at 9PM Eastern today. The firmware upgrade includes two new modes, beginning with Cool to Dry, which turns on air conditioning to reduce humidity. A Sunblock setting should meanwhile prevent the thermostat from turning on unnecessarily when direct sunlight is hitting the Nest's sensor.
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.
Wii U, Surface among other list entries
Time Magazine has awarded the iPhone 5 the title of "Gadget of the Year" for 2012. In his piece on the phone, writer Harry McCracken calls the device "one of the most artfully polished gadgets anyone's ever built," and claims it outperforms other "nifty" smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S III, which isn't included in his top-ten list despite the presence of the Galaxy Note II in eighth place. "When it comes to melding hardware, software and services so tightly that the seams fade away, Apple still has no peer," McCracken argues.
Second-gen Nest thermostat gets sleeker design, internal changes, new software
Nest has introduced its second-generation Learning Thermostat that's much thinner and has more advanced features. Compared to the original, the new one is 20 percent thinner, lacks the sensor grille on the front, and has a solid stainless steel perimeter ring. There are changes under the skin as well, with the mounting screw holes now at the top and bottom of the thermostat.
Tony Fadell says three iPhone ideas tested
Apple had considered one of three core ideas for the iPhone, one of which included a hardware keyboard, former Apple executive and now Nest founder Tony Fadell revealed Friday. Speaking in an evening session with The Verge, he mentioned that the all-touch design that eventually shipped first had come after he wanted to try a virtual keyboard before resorting to the hardware option. The key iPod architect had understood the potential of an on-screen keyboard, which has infinite customization and can disappear when not needed, but didn't rule out physical keys at first.
Nest says Honeywell patents invalid
Nest more formally responded to Honeywell's patent lawsuit both through a rejection of the claims inside as well as by drawing once more on Apple for top executives. The smart thermostat maker claimed both that it doesn't use any of Honeywell's patents but that they were "hopelessly invalid." The arguments were "retreads" of prior art from companies like Volkswagen, obvious technology, or even examples of hiding its own older patents from the USPTO, Nest argued.
Nest gets mid-cycle feature update
Nest brought out a rare example of a home appliance update Thursday by patching its thermostat. The Internet-aware device now has a 10-day record of its heating and cooling patterns, referred to as the Energy History. It both shows overall trends and helps explain why a change happened, such as automatic changes owing to the weather or to deliberate changes. The updates are available both on the Nest itself and in the Android, iOS, and web apps.
Nest plans to fight Honeywell lawsuit
Nest signaled its intention to fight Honeywell's lawsuit on Wednesday. In a response, it claimed to be the real innovator with its Learning Thermostat. Honeywell was simply trying to drag down a rival, Nest said.
Honeywell files suit against Nest, Best Buy
Honeywell on Monday sued Nest Labs, makers of thermostats, for allegedly violating its patents in the US. Seven patents related to thermostat technology are in contention, with some focusing on methods of operating and programming the devices. The lawsuit also aims to involve Best Buy into it, which sells Nest Labs' thermostats.
Thermostat takes cues from Apple gadgets
The Nest thermostat, which was created by iPod pioneer Tony Fadell, has already been dissected by at least one early buyer. DIY electronics retailer Sparkfun purchased one of the unique thermostats to tear apart, revealing internal components that show an attention to detail that is commonly found inside Apple's mobile products such as iPods and iPhones.