Lauren Goode

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Nest Labs Hatches New Thermostat

Nest just got a little bit cooler.

Nest Labs, maker of a “smart,” WiFi-equipped thermostat for the home, has put out a new version of its product.

The new Nest doesn’t look drastically different from the first. Hardware-wise, the second-generation thermostat is 20 percent thinner than the first model, and now has a stainless steel ring around it that’s meant to reflect the color of your wall and help the gadget blend in better. The company has ditched the obvious sensor grill on the front of the new thermostat in favor of an invisible one.

But there are also some improvements on the software side, including an update said to make the product even smarter, for more energy savings in the home.

Nest Labs says the new thermostat now supports different kinds of heating and cooling systems, including two-stage cooling and three-stage heating, as well as home humidifying systems, making the smart thermostat compatible with 95 percent of low-voltage heating and cooling systems. Previously, the product was compatible with about 75 percent of low-voltage homes.

And the thermostat, which has always worked in conjunction with Nest’s free iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone apps, now works with Android tablets.

The new Nest costs $249 and is expected to hit stores in the U.S, including Amazon, Apple.com and Lowe’s stores, by the end of the month. Existing Nest owners will get an automatic software update to Nest 3.0 sometime today.

The price of the original Nest thermostat will drop from $249 to $229, but is only available while supplies last: The company said it has stopped producing the first version of Nest.

The new product announcement comes as Nest Labs faces a legal battle with Honeywell International. The company filed a patent-infringement lawsuit on Palo Alto-based Nest Labs in February, alleging that Nest’s relatively new digital thermostat encroaches on Honeywell’s patented technology. Nest has continued to challenge Honeywell’s assertions, and said the changes made in the new Nest are not related to the Honeywell suit.


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