August smart lock, from Yves Behar, to ship in Q1 2014

The company began taking preorders today and also announced a new feature that locks a door automatically every time it is closed.

The August smart lock, which is controlled via a mobile app, goes on sale today and will start shipping in the first quarter of 2014. August

The August Smart Lock, a system designed to let people easily control access to their homes, will start shipping during the first quarter of 2014.

Already, August has received more than 30,000 reservations for its lock. Starting today, would-be buyers can preorder the product. The company was founded by Jason Johnson and world-renowned industrial designer Yves Behar.

The $199 lock -- much like competing products from Goji , Lockitron , Kwikset , and others -- applies the latest technology to the age-old door lock, allowing people to go in and out of their houses without using a key.

The system also lets owners decide who else can open the lock -- via August's mobile app -- and when they can do so. If an owner wants to give someone full-time access, that person can open the lock anytime using the app. However, if the owner wants to let a contractor in for a few days, a house cleaner for a few hours or an overnight guest for one night, that person can be assigned access for the desired time frame.

Unlike its competitors, however, August doesn't allow users to connect over the Internet, meaning the lock can't be hacked remotely. Instead, it communicates locally with a user's smartphone via Bluetooth. Co-founder Johnson said that decision was made to preserve battery life. The lock runs on two AA batteries, which should last about a year, Johnson said. If the battery dies, however, a normal key still opens the lock.

The smart lock was first announced in May. Johnson said that the device has a series of built-in sensors and features that will be rolled out over time. Today, August announced the first of those features: a new tool called EverLock. It's designed to automatically lock a door every time someone goes in or out, Johnson said. The intent is to prevent people from worrying whether or not they locked up their houses when they went out.

 

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