Belkin's WeMo line of connected power plugs, light switches, and motion detectors already offers consumers an easy way to experiment with home automation. This WeMo LED lighting kit (and the smart small appliances listed below), make the WeMo line even more comprehensive. Belkin isn't the only company pursuing a platform approach to the DIY smart home, but it's one of the furthest along among established manufacturers.
DIY home security has a lot of benefits to those priced out of expensive contract plans from ADT and others. In addition to off-the-shelf multi-component systems, you will also find all-in-one devices like the Piper and the forthcoming Canary.
Consisting of a Webcam, a motion detector, and a set of environmental sensors for detecting temperature, humidity, and air quality, both of these devices are designed to give you a comprehensive security system for a single room or a small apartment. Canary has no built-in home automation receiver, so it won't double as a smart-home hub like Piper will. But Canary will cost about $40 less, and, unlike Piper, its camera has a night-vision function.
This connected slow cooker will be the first showing from the partnership between smart-home tech maker Belkin and consumer products giant Jarden Consumer Solutions. Its strategy -- mashing simple smartphone-based controls and notifications into a familiar small appliance brand -- certainly seems like a sound way to introduce consumers to connected kitchen devices. Expect a connected Mr. Coffee and other other WeMo-equipped small appliances to follow throughout the year.
The outlook:Our reviews have shown that Neato's robot vacuums compete very well with category leader iRobot's Roomba line, so we welcome even more competition here. Neato's forthcoming BotVac line aims for the higher-end models, where its older vacs traditionally occupied the midrange price tier.
For these higher price tags, the BotVac will come with a larger brush roll and a roomier dust bin than other Neato vacs, and new to the line, a side brush for agitating dirt out of your carpet for a more thorough cleaning. Neato also says the BotVac has longer battery life than the earlier models.
Quirky's partnership with GE continues to bear fruit, and the Aros Smart air conditioner is the latest example. An iOS and Android-compatible smart interface gives you remote control and monitoring capability, and tech built into the unit can help it adapt to your location and usage patterns.
Samsung is pulling back on smart capabilities in its large appliances for now, but it's making up the difference in its new washer-and-dryer set by letting you cram them full of clothes.
The WA9000 and WF9000 washing machines (top- and front-load models, respectively) each have a 5.6-cubic-foot drum, which is 0.4 cubic foot larger than the largest units offered by rival LG. Same goes for the Samsung DA9000 and DF9000 dryers, which come in at 9.5 cubic feet to the LG's 9.0-cubic-foot models. Do we hear 10?