Switchmate's first device, a retrofit smart switch release in Summer 2016, wasn't elegant, but it was impressively simple. All you had to do was magnet it over a conventional light switch, and it would add automation to your overhead lights -- no install necessary.
But now Switchmate is getting more ambitious. Not only are they releasing a second generation of the original smart switch barely seven months later -- they're expanding into other areas of the smart home. First up: the Switchmate Power. This is a $40 smart plug that plugs into both outlets in a given fixture, and automates each one separately. With that one design choice, this little startup is already a compelling competitor for industry leaders like Belkin WeMo and iDevices.
The Switchmate Power also has other, well, powers. Not only can you toggle each plug individually, but you can schedule them and automate them using the phone proximity trick of the original Switchmate. Plus, the Power includes two additional USB charging ports for good measure.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Switchmate Power might not look quite as sharp as, say, the iDevices Switch. Sleek design has never been Switchmate's strong suit, though; efficiency has. As expected, then, Switchmate's device might turn a wall freckle into a wall wart -- but it'll be a damn powerful wall wart. It even features a backlight to use as a nightlight.
The Switchmate Power will be available February of 2017.