Imagine if you could link a series of wall-mounted air conditioners together and control them remotely through one smartphone app. In theory, you'd have a home cooling setup that rivals the comfort of a pricey centralized air system, for a fraction of the cost. The new Frigidaire $329 Gallery Gallery Cool Connect will conceivably bring these useful capabilities to the table.
Revamped and remodeled just in time for KBIS 2016, the appliance takes a page out of the now defunct Quirky + Aros by promising to roll futuristic looks, smart connectivity, plus support for multi-unit command and cooperation in one compact machine.
How cool can an air conditioner be?
Very, according to Frigidaire. The company says it designed the Cool Connect to be sleek, even stylish, and occupy as little space as possible. To be clear, this product is not Frigidaire's first stab at a smart air conditioner. That contraption, also under the Cool Connect name, was essentially a stock wall-mounted model with Wi-Fi networking hardware slapped inside as an afterthought.
Physical controls on the new Cool Connect are kept to a minimum, with the only keys for controlling the appliance running along its trim top edge. The face of the Cool Connect is flat and bare as well, except for a bright LED which displays the current temperature setting in large digital numbers. In fact, most of the air conditioner's front consists of a monolithic mesh grate which makes the machine look more like a speaker than a typical AC unit.
Linked for more control
What's unique about the Cool Connect, though, is its smart home chops. The air conditioner communicates with Wi-Fi networks and the Frigidaire Smart Appliance mobile application (Android and iOS versions) allowing you to command the unit from anywhere your phone or tablet enjoys Internet access.
When connected, the Cool Connect can be programmed to operate on a schedule or ping you with friendly reminders for regular maintenance, like cleaning and swapping in fresh filters. The most compelling aspect of the appliance's smarts, however, is that you can link multiple Cool Connect units together and control them as a group. I imagine such an arrangement will come in handy for those living in old houses with several stories and no venting for a forced air climate control system. It's an equally compelling air conditioning workaround for cooling several apartment rooms at once.
One weakness in the Cool Connect's capabilities is its lack of support for third party platforms, such as IFTTT, Nest, and Apple HomeKit. Unless Frigidaire addresses this, integrating the Cool Connect into a wider universe of smart home gadgets is a non-starter.
The birth of cool
Frigidaire expects the $329 Gallery Cool Connect to arrive in stores by spring of 2016, right before heatwave season.