from the beware-romans-bearing-free-wifi dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Nest (based in Palo Alto, and headed by former Apple executive Tony Fadell) is out to reinvent the ugly, blocky devices—starting with the thermostat—that we bolt to our walls and ceilings out of necessity. Its new Nest Protect, looks more like something for streaming music or movies than a smoke detector; inside its chic shell, the device packs an embedded system-on-a-chip and a handful of sensors, capable of connecting to other devices via wireless. 'Would this be a cherished product? Can it be more than a rational purchase — can it be an emotional one?' is the thought process that Fadell uses when evaluating new products for Nest-ification, according to Wired. That sounds like something Apple designer Jony Ive would say about the latest iDevice; your own mileage may vary on whether you consider that a good thing. Whether or not Nest actually succeeds, its emphasis on friendly design and function could serve as a template for helping popularize the so-called 'Internet of Things,' or the giant networks of interconnected devices that everybody seems to think is coming in a few short years: by giving stodgy hardware an iPhone-like sheen, complete with all sorts of bells and whistles, you could potentially change consumer mindsets from 'Do I really need to buy this thing?' to 'I want to buy this thing.' Some privacy advocates are already crying foul ('My dear privacy enthusiast: activity sensors?' The Kernel's Greg Stevens wrote, tongue somewhat in cheek, about Nest Protect in a recent blog posting. 'Ladies and gentlemen, how can you possibly stay silent about the possible abuses of such a device?'), but since when have concerns over privacy prevented people from buying the next 'cool' device?"
There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
We don't believe this to be a coincidence.
-- Jeremy S. Anderson