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Nest unveils slimmer, smarter thermostat

Posting in Design

Nest Labs unveiled this week a slimmer and smarter version of its thermostat, the second major improvement to the device since it was originally launched less than a year ago.

The latest version of the Nest Learning thermostat, which will be available in mid-October, is now compatible with 95 percent of low voltage heating and cooling system, including so-called second stage cooling, third-stage heating, dual fuel, emergency heat and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers. In other words, Nest just expanded its market.

The second generation thermostat is 20 percent thinner than the original and encased in a solid stainless steel ring, which is designed to reflect the wall colors around it, according to the company's blog.

Bigger changes were made to the device's interior. Nest upgraded its press connectors to make inserting heating and cooling wires faster and moved the screw holes to the top and bottom to maker installation simpler.

Nest, which was founded by former Apple product engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, also made another major software upgrade to its device. While technically this new version is a second generation device, the Nest thermostat did undergo a major software upgrade earlier this year, which included some added features and updated hardware components.

This latest software upgrade (call it software 3.0) includes improvements to the enhanced Auto-Away feature, which can now turn on as quickly as a half hour after you leave the house; and the Auto-Schedule in heat and cool mode. The software also has system match, which automatically activates different features depending on the heating and cooling system the consumer has.

One final notable feature: the existing Nest customer doesn't lose out. Every Wi-fi connected new and existing Nest thermostat receives the 3.0 software too.

Photo: Nest

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— By on October 2, 2012, 7:54 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure