Nest is at the forefront of the burgeoning smart home market, and the company proved it last year with its half-billion-dollar acquisition of Dropcam. The endless coffers its parent company Google don't hurt, either.
On Wednesday, Nest unveiled its latest take on the Dropcam, simply called "Cam." The WiFi-enabled gizmo records 1080p video (up from the Dropcam's 720p) at 30 FPS with a 130-degree field of vision. Like its predecessor, it's intended for home security use.
The Cam also includes an 8X zoom ratio, infrared night vision, and cloud backups of video footage through a separate Nest Aware subscription.
The associated app is free, and works with iOS 8 or later and Android 4.0 or later. It allows users to remotely monitor their homes (or other spaces) from their mobile device, and to communicate with people in the vicinity of the camera through the built-in microphone and speaker.
Why would you want to do that? Well, maybe you want to talk to your pets, or maybe you want to scare away some burglars, like this New Jersey man did.
In the same announcement, Nest took the wraps off a second-generation version of its Protect smoke alarm and CO2 detector. The alarm's updated sensors can tell how fast a fire is spreading, and distinguish between smoke and steam. Protect and Cam join Nest's Learning Thermostat to round out the brand's product lineup.
But like most smart home products, the real appeal is in how these devices work with the rest of your home. They are, after all, part of a larger ecosystem Nest and Google are trying to build. In just one example, you can program the Cam to begin recording as soon as the Protect alarm is triggered.
Cam also includes a feature called "Activity Zones," which allows you to highlight specific regions within the camera's field of view. The app will then notify you when something happens there.
As the smart home war heats up, strategies among the biggest tech brands couldn't be more different. While Google and Samsung have gone down the path of acquisition (of Nest and SmartThings, respectively), Apple has limited itself to a developer kit, HomeKit. Microsoft, meanwhile, has simply invested in a bunch of promising smart home startups.
Finally, there's the seemingly endless array of home automation hubs available from the likes of Wink, Logitech, Staples, LG, and Lowe's. Earlier this week, we covered Oomi, which attempts to make these hubs more useful by doubling as a standalone security camera.
At this point, the smart home market is anything but monopolized, so it will be interesting to see how Nest, which many see as a top player in the field, continues to innovate—and automate—the home.
The Cam (MSRP $199.99) is currently available for pre-order at Best Buy. The updated, cheaper Protect (MSRP $99) will begin shipping in July.