By Poornima Gupta
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Nest Labs has a new gadget to sell & it’s another little-noticed, pedestrian home device: smoke detectors.
The Silicon Valley startup that elevated the lowly thermostat with attention-grabbing designs is now launching a $129 “Nest Protect,” a smoke & carbon monoxide detector that speaks & responds to hand gestures.
Nest – co-founded by Apple alums Tony Fadell & Matt Rogers – has embedded its sleek gadget with a female voice that warns users when smoke & carbon monoxide levels obtain dangerously high.
Users can wave a hand to silence alarms, & select to receive alerts on their smartphone or tablet, Matt Rogers said in an interview with Reuters.
“It’s really approximately finding the unloved & these things are incredibly significant that you cannot live without,” he said, when asked why Nest decided to work on a smoke detector. “Yet they don’t work. They are frustrating. They are ugly.”
Rogers said there really has been no innovation in this market for many years & is ripe for disruption.
The market for smoke & carbon monoxide detectors is three to four times bigger than thermostats, Nest’s first device that retails for $249, Rogers said. “We are again looking at the top end of the market.”
The new device has a battery life between three & seven years, & comes in black & white. It will first go on sale in the United States, Canada & United Kingdom. And the smoke alarm can be set to warn in either English, French or Spanish.
Nest Protect includes nine sensors to assist detect hand gestures & other movements. The device can moreover act as a low-powered night light that automatically switches on when someone walks under it.
The new gadget goes on sale in November at retailers such as Best Buy & Home Depot, or online at Amazon.com.
Nest, which counts Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures & Shasta Ventures among its investors, employs a large number of designers & engineers from Silicon Valley firms like Apple & Google Inc.
It gained a large following with its first thermostat – a round, brushed-metal device with a convex glass screen that displays temperature & changes hue to match the color of the wall it attaches to. It moreover tracks usage & employs that data to automatically set heating & cooling temperatures.
Nest now has approximately 280 employees, up from 90 in 2011.
“It’s been an absolute ride,” Rogers said of Nest’s journey from a startup in stealth mode to a recognized brand in home automation.
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Editing by Christopher Cushing)