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Upgrade your abode with smart-home gadget Branto

Startup Branto is bringing the smart home into full focus with its all-in-one security and automation device.


Startup Branto is in the middle of an Indiegogo campaign for a smart-home device of the same name. Branto is a neat-looking LED-illuminated sphere with a pretty lofty goal: to take on all of your home security and automation needs. At $279/£180/AU$375 a pop, Branto units aren't cheap, but there seems to be a lot of functionality tucked inside each crystal-ball-esque orb.

For starters, Branto supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and Global System for Mobile Communications (commonly shortened to GSM). That's partly so you can tap into core features, like its built-in 100-degree 1080p camera with 360-degree pan, complete with motion and sound alerts, two-way talk, night vision and local storage (thanks to an included 16GB internal memory card; cloud storage is elective), as well as audio streaming, video conferencing and an optional door/window sensor accessory, dubbed Branto Bit.

But supposedly, it's also so you can connect your Branto with third-party devices like Nest thermostats , Philips Hue LEDs and assorted Belkin WeMo products. That makes this connected-home gadget a unique hybrid that's half hub and half standalone security and automation device.

Not only that, but Branto is outfitted with a rechargeable battery and an optional cellular data connection (via GSM). That means that it should work even if you lose your Wi-Fi connection or power altogether. In fact, it is designed to go on the road with you as needed -- the 3,000mAh battery is supposed to last from 3 to 12 hours depending on usage.

Even with all of these options, Branto still seems expensive. That's especially true since hub-style products have been falling out of favor lately. That whole "universal app" thing is a solid concept, but it hasn't exactly translated to a superior user experience when you consider products like the Wink hub . We'll have to wait and see if Branto's Android and iOS apps actually deliver or if it's just more of the same.

Branto has raised over $47,000 so far -- that's less than $3,000 away from its $50,000 goal -- and has 20 days left on its campaign. Units cost $279/£180/AU$375 each, shipping is free in the United States, Canada and China (it costs an additional $30/£20/AU$40 to ship to other countries) and delivery is slated for December. Visit the Branto Indiegogo page for more details.

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