Tony Fadell has defied skeptics before. Ten years ago, when a slick gadget he conceived and helped to build hit the market, most analysts shrugged, saying the new tech toy would be irrelevant to most people. The prediction ranks among to top bloopers in the history of tech punditry. Fadell’s gadget, the iPod, sold more than 300 million units and, in the process, revolutionized the music industry,” Miguel Helft reports for Fortune.
“Now Fadell, who has been called the “father of the iPod,” is hoping to prove skeptics wrong one more time. After leading the team that built the iPod and playing a key role in the development of the iPhone, Fadell left his executive role at Apple in 2008,” Helft reports. “For the past two years, he has been hard at work quietly building a new electronic gadget. Like the iPod, it is controlled through a simple dial. And like the iPod, it’s likely to be greeted with skepticism. It is, after all, a thermostat.”
“But if the iPod was no ordinary music player, the thermostat built by Nest Labs, Fadell’s startup, is nothing like the drab plastic devices that control heating and air conditioning in millions of American homes. For starters, the device, which is being introduced on Tuesday and will be available in mid-November, has the kind of elegant, minimalist design that Fadell learned while working for his former boss, Steve Jobs,” Helft reports. “More important, just like the iPhone made cellphones smart, Nest wants to bring intelligence to thermostats: the device programs itself based on your daily routines and the temperatures you set. It constantly refines itself, senses your comings and goings to adjust accordingly, and automatically turns itself off when you are away.”
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