| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 8 Nest Labs has a new
gadget to sell and 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 and carbon monoxide detector that
speaks and responds to hand gestures.
Nest - co-founded by Apple alums Tony Fadell and
Matt Rogers - has embedded its sleek gadget with a female voice
that warns users when smoke and carbon monoxide levels get
Users can wave a hand to silence alarms, and choose to
receive alerts on their smartphone or tablet, Matt Rogers said
in an interview with Reuters.
"It's really about finding the unloved and these things are
incredibly important 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 and is ripe for disruption.
The market for smoke and 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 and seven
years, and comes in black and white. It will first go on sale in
the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. And the smoke
alarm can be set to warn in either English, French or Spanish.
Nest Protect includes nine sensors to help detect hand
gestures and other movements. The device can also 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 and Home Depot, or online at Amazon.com.
Nest, which counts Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture
Partners, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures among its
investors, employs a large number of designers and engineers
from Silicon Valley firms like Apple and Google Inc.
It gained a large following with its first thermostat - a
round, brushed-metal device with a convex glass screen that
displays temperature and changes hue to match the color of the
wall it attaches to. It also tracks usage and employs that data
to automatically set heating and cooling temperatures.
Nest now has about 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