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Smart Home

Canary's DIY security gadget promises lower insurance bills

On sale now, the all-in-one home monitoring device is discount eligible for anyone with State Farm homeowner's or renter's insurance.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Nearly two years after a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, the Canary all-in-one home monitoring device is available for sale online and at major retailers starting today, having shipped to all initial backers. Retail partners at launch include Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Verizon Wireless.

In addition, the Canary team is announcing that the gadget will join automation kits from Lowe's Iris and ADT Pulse as a discount-eligible device with State Farm. That could spell savings of as much as 10 percent on homeowner's and renter's insurance for anyone with a Canary installed in their home.

Canary is a $250 gadget (£170/AU$315) packed with a night-vision camera and sensors for things like motion, temperature, and air quality. Set one up on a shelf in your living room and connect it with your Wi-Fi network, and you'll be able to monitor conditions at home from your Android or iOS device. If something's amiss, Canary promises to let you know, or sound the built-in alarm.

That pitch certainly resonated with the Indiegogo community, as the device raised almost $2 million from backers during its initial crowdfunding run. An additional $10 million in venture capital from big names like Khosla Ventures followed in 2014. Now, Canary's team is hoping to make a similar splash at retail.

Whether or not that happens will depend largely on the last few months of development and usability tweaks. We tested Canary out at the start of the year as it was starting to ship out to backers, and came away disappointed with the frustrating setup process, inconsistent performance, and lack of key features like an auto alarm or an Android app.

Since then, Canary's released a number of app and firmware upgrades, along with an app on the Google Play store. We're currently in the middle of testing all of it out -- expect a full review by next week.