Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Nest is an interesting piece of hardware.

I'm curious what you find so interesting about it. I've had an Ecobee thermostat (http://www.ecobee.com/solutions/home/smart/) for years and have even done silly hacks with it like integrating it with my wireless access point to detect when I'm home (http://jcs.org/ecobee) and making a SiriProxy plugin to be able control it with an iPhone (http://flic.kr/p/aNuGaF).

But even before the Ecobee, programmable and even WiFi-enabled thermostats have been around for many years and they have not gained any significant traction. My dad owns an HVAC company and they've only sold 1 or 2 Ecobee units in the years they've stocked them, with most people just opting for a schedule-based programmable thermostat.

What makes the Nest so much different? Is it just that it's pretty? Right now, their website says it costs $250. For the average person, that's probably at least a few years of energy savings needed to justify that cost.

I love logic like this.

You bought an Ecobee thermostat, integrated it with your access point, and made a SiriProxy plugin.

This is awesome but think about it for the general consumer. They just want shit to work.

This is what makes Nest different.

Where did I say that I expected anyone else to do any of that? By my own words, they were silly hacks. My question was why the Nest is different than the Ecobee or any other smart thermostat that has been around for years. They all do the same things: smartly adjust to the outside temperature and usage patterns, provide data to the user about energy use, and allow control from the Internet or wireless network.

"My question was why the Nest is different than the Ecobee or any other smart thermostat that has been around for years."

That's like asking:

- Why is the iPod different from all the mp3 players on the market?

- Why is the iPhone different from all the smart phones on the market?

- Why is the iPad different from all the tablets on the market?

None of these questions are easy to answer in full, if they were Apple would have more serious competition. The simple answer is:

Because the overall experience of owning them, for the average person, is better than with the alternatives.

None of those examples actually answer his question, they just belittle it a bit, but the original question, and in fact all of those, are very valid.

I suspect the current hype about the Nest is due to two reasons: 1) Apple people made it, and Apple is newsworthy right now; 2) it doesn't look like other thermostats, it looks easy to use and unique. I think that right now the Nest's aesthetic is getting it traction, time will tell if that's enough to get it sales.

to be honest, I remember reading on HN a similar comments about DropBox, that its a matter of setting up FTP server.

In my opinion market timing is the difference. There are a few key factors. Wifi penetration is coming over 80%. After a long drawn out process zigbee is emerging rapidly as the defacto wireless standard, and I suspect we will see this being consolidated over the next 3-6 months. Hardware costs to build a truly smart system have been driven lower by the boom in smartphone chips and batteries. The smart grid is coming, and it's government backed.

Homes HAVE to get smarter. The market dictates this. But up to this point, the cost to gain ratio has been far out of balance, not to mention the approach of poor quality touch screens and feature lists that read like a 1999 computer spec :) I agree nest is too expensive at $250, but I doubt that it will hold that price tag for long, partnerships are coming I'm sure.

It's a little like asking what made the iPhone different to the nokia of the day, or Dropbox to FTP. It's more about market timing, pricing and user experience than anything in a spec.

What else? Put bluntly; timing, founders and funding.

Ecobee's "where to buy" page points me at a bunch of HVAC contractors. Not really the sort of places where I'd come across the product while browsing.

Am I mistaken in thinking that the Ecobee is significantly more expensive than the Nest?

I'm in the US and just went through their "Where to buy" screens-- it showed a $350 price tag.

I'm in the US and saw a unit for over $400. That might have been a higher-end product.

It's just pretty drives a lot of consumer household purchases already. And nest may cost $250 now, but in 3 years it can easily just cost $50. The zeo sleep monitor had a similar price trajectory, starting at around $400 and now is around $100. Similarly with the kindle and other e-ink devices.

Not sure why you're getting attacked. I think the advantage is a combination of nicer design and better PR ("brought to you by the fathers of the iPod", etc). A very Apple-like approach to product. Which works on many folks, myself included.

What makes them different could just be that their marketing is working. Good for them.

shhh.. logic doesn't belong here when talking about former apple employees / designers / etc.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact