Ecobee, the company behind the popular ecobee3 smart thermostat that has, over the years, rivalled Nest, Honeywell and others for dominance in the home temperature control space, has unveiled its latest product, the ecobee4 (opens in new tab).
The new product looks very similar to its predecessor, featuring a 3.5-inch touchscreen with a squircle outer design, but adds super sensitive far-field microphones and Amazon Alexa support. Ecobee announced the product alongside Amazon, in fact, and is working with the company to ensure that Alexa on the thermostat can do everything it can on the Echo.
Ecobee's advantage over Nest has heretofore been its compatibility with external sensors placed throughout a home that report back to the main hub to determine overall ambient temperature. Ecobee says that the reasoning is pretty obvious: most thermostats are placed in front hallways where the temperature is often a few degrees cooler or warmer, depending on the season, than the upstairs. For many people, this means that the heat or air conditioning doesn't work as long, or as intelligently, as it could. Ecobee4 works with those smart sensors, but also has another trick up its sleeve.
To further the whole-hole intelligence angle, ecobee plans to come out with a new smart light switch later this year that integrates the same ultra-sensitive microphones as the thermostat itself, allowing users to make changes to settings and temperatures, as well as communicate with Alexa, from anywhere in the house. According to ecobee, "this product will mark the company's first venture beyond smart thermostats and is expected to lead the smart home category into a whole-home-voice future."
The ecobee4 will be available on May 15 in the U.S., and pre-orders begin May 3. It costs $249.
See at ecobee (opens in new tab)
Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.
So if you already have an Echo and don't need to talk directly to the thermostat are there any other features that make this new version better than the current Ecobee?
Always annoying when a Canadian company makes a product that's not available in Canada!
Blame Amazon :)
It's partly because Amazon Echo isn't available in Canada, they probably will release a version of the Ecobee4 I'm Canada but without Alexa or with another voice assistant
Thinking Microsoft is going to start coming out with cortana embedded smart devices this year.... not sure if I should wait and hold my breath or just jump on this. Already have an amazon tap, just wondering how / if this could differentiate to use that for music and the ecobee otherwise.
Dang I was hoping it had a camera and gave me fashion tips...
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