Nest Labs gets into talking smoke detectors

Tue Oct 8, 2013 8:59am EDT
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By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO Oct 8 (Reuters) - 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 dangerously high.

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.   Continued...