Tony Fadell’s thermostats are unlike any other thermostat you may have ever seen. Mr. Fadell, who also answers to the moniker ‘father of iPod’, was instrumental in the development of the iPod and then the iPhone. That same year he left Apple. The irony of leaving Apple to build thermostats is not lost on Mr. Fadell himself. He even shares an anecdote or two on how people would react when told he was building thermostats (jaw-dropping shock to begin with) writing on the company blog. The company would be Nest Labs, the one Fadell founded and is the CEO of.

“Turns out you change the temperature in your house 1500 times a year. 1500! Our thermostat learns what temperatures you like so it can program itself. It senses when you’re out and turns itself down. And we started from scratch with design, so it’s beautiful. Gorgeous hardware, easy install, fully integrated software, remote control from your smartphone,” writes Mr. Fadell. Over ten million thermostats are sold in the United States alone.

Tony Fadell (Founder and CEO, Nest): Thermostats? Yes, thermostats.

A quick look at the specs of the thermostat:

  • Nest programs itself in about a week. It creates a personalized schedule based on temperature changes.
  • The Nest Leaf appears when you set a temperature that saves you energy, and money.
  • Nest will adjust the temperature to avoid heating or cooling the house while it’s empty. It can sense when you have left the house.
  • Nest uses its Wi-Fi connection to keep an eye on current weather conditions
  • A one-degree difference can reduce energy use up to 5 per cent, and Nest is calibrated to measure the exact temperature. That there are three temperature sensors also helps.
  • Walk up to Nest, and the device lights up automatically, a different light for day and night time.
  • Nest uses public key cryptography. Its security features include HTTPS, SSL and 128-bit encryption.
  • Nest apps for iPhones and the Android are expected soon.

You will find a more comprehensive list of features here. A video-tour of the device is available here. The Nest thermostats are ready to be pre-ordered from the company website or Best Buy. You can chose to install them yourself, there is also a Nest concierge service you can use.

The devices cost $249 per unit (an average run-of-the-mill thermostat retails for about $49.98) plus shipping and taxes. Concierge service comes at $119 for the first pop, and $25 for each subsequent installation. You will want to do a compatibility check before ordering, Nest won’t work with high voltage systems.

Nest partners include Google Ventures, KPCB, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Generation, Shasta Ventures, and Intertrust.

[Image courtesy: Nest Labs]

Edited: 10-08-2013