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Apple alums give home thermostats a twist

Nest Labs, a startup founded by former Apple engineers, hopes to do for home thermostats what their former employer did for smartphones -- make them hip and intuitive.

business Updated: Oct 25, 2011 16:59 IST

Nest Labs, a startup founded by former Apple engineers, hopes to do for home thermostats what their former employer did for smartphones - make them hip and intuitive.



The startup came out of stealth mode on Tuesday to unveil the Learning Thermostat, which can be taught to maintain its owners' precise comfort level after a week or less of use, saving energy lost through manual adjustment.



"We created the world's first learning thermostat," Nest vice president of marketing Erik Charlton said while giving AFP an early look at the device.



"You interact with it for a few days and it programs itself to your schedule," he said. "You don't have to touch it again."



Nest co-founder Tony Fadell is a former senior vice president of the Apple division behind iPods and iPhones. Fellow co-founder Matt Rogers was a lead iPod software engineer working with Fadell at Apple.



Nest's vice president of technology Yoky Matsuoka was once head of innovations at Google, and the startup's vice president of operations, Johnny Gilmore, was a general manager at Sling Media.



"Ten million thermostats are sold every year and there has been little innovation since the 1950s," said Charlton, who headed computer mouse marketing at Logitech before joining Nest. "We are changing that."



The company began taking US orders online at nest.com for the thermostats, which were priced at $249 each. The devices begin shipping in November.