Nest launches more affordable smart thermostat

Delia Watkins
September 1, 2017

When winter does come the new model will be ready as it's covered in frosted glass, something the company claims is an industry first. The design of this thermostat has been made in a way that the users can simply buy it and forget while it has all the benefits coming with intelligence. The motion-sensing tech-which the thermostat uses to detect if someone is home-has been integrated into a new "Nest pill" located on the front of the thermostat. Where the original shows the time and weather, the new product simply focuses on the internal temperature, but it still has all the machine learning that the company prides itself on. Most people don't care how their thermostat's algorithms work; they just want the temperature to be right.

Shipments will start September 1, and it will be available at retail stores starting around September 10. Nest estimates that this reduction means that the E will be compatible with around 85 per cent of systems in the United States, where the original is compatible with 95 per cent. Ultimately, you'll leave it alone, and let your thermostat regulate your home for you.

According to Nest, it helps saves 12 to 15% on customers' heating bills, and so far has saved 14 billion kWh of energy.

The thermostat market now comprises three tiers: cheap, low-end and ugly-looking beige boxes; mid-market thermostats with color screens and sometimes their own apps; and the high-end market dominated by Nest and Ecobee that offer a wide range of features and high-quality design and build quality. That requires a lot of new Nest customers.

The colors of the new E are a gentle orange and green and the "glacier grey" of the device was chosen to blend in better with most people's walls.

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That note about the Thermostat E blending into any environment is an interesting one, and it speaks to the market Nest is addressing with this new product. They could have swapped the easy cable-clamp mechanism for a screw-on cap, or ripped out the processor and done away with all the machine-learning stuff altogether. It needs this to be an indoor regulator that you purchase and disregard, yet get every one of the advantages that accompany having some worked in capabilities.

The new thermostat will have numerous same features as the original. The cover's in the box, and he's ultimately happy about that. After all, Nest wasn't making all that much money at the time. Former Nest CEO Tony Fadell left the company a year ago and Ars Technica detailed other troubles at the time in the company. But the company has moved slowly. The company has since been acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, and two iterative updates have been released in addition to a connected smoke detector and three different home security cameras.

The smart thermostats do work. Nest's power-saving aspirations are valuable and important, and the company's uniquely able to do things like automatically manage the power surges and dips caused by a solar eclipse.

Clearly, Nest wants some diversity.

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