Smart thermostat war heats up as Apple-partner Honeywell takes aim at Google’s Nest

“With Google Inc.’s Nest unit shaking up a once-staid market, Honeywell International Inc. (HON) is striking back with a Wi-Fi thermostat being introduced today and by working with Apple Inc.,” Thomas Black reports for Bloomberg. “The Lyric can be controlled by a smartphone and has a sleek round look with a large digital display, similar to Nest’s.”

“Honeywell’s 39 percent share of U.S. thermostat sales in 2013 makes the company a target for rivals rushing out equipment promising energy savings, more comfort and less user confusion. The No. 2 competitor, Johnson Controls Inc., had 6.5 percent of the $3.1 billion in U.S. residential and industrial thermostat revenue, according to New York-based researcher IBISWorld Inc.,” Black reports. “Honeywell has signed on to participate in Apple’s HomeKit, a platform unveiled last week to run home gadgets including locks and lights. The new Wi-Fi thermostats also will be part of a ‘family of products’ under the Lyric brand, said Beth Wozniak, president of Honeywell’s Environmental and Combustion Controls unit.”

“Nest has introduced an alarm for smoke and carbon monoxide; sales were suspended in April due to a recall,” Black reports. “Honeywell came out swinging in 2012 with a lawsuit against Nest alleging that the startup had infringed on seven patents. Honeywell is ‘confident of our position,’ said Bruce Anderson, a spokesman, who declined to comment further. Nest called the lawsuit ‘meritless allegations’ in a 2012 statement and cited Richard Lutton Jr., the company’s general counsel, as saying the case was an attempt to stifle competition.”

“Google’s $3.2 billion purchase in February of Nest thrust the owner of the world’s biggest search engine into the digital home-automation market,” Black reports. “Apple’s foray into home automation may give Honeywell a lift. Cupertino, California-based Apple said June 2 its HomeKit will let customers tell an iPhone they’re going to bed — turning off lights, locking doors and setting the thermostat. HomeKit participants include Kwikset locks and Philips Lighting. Honeywell is banking on consumers staying loyal to a brand that’s in 150 million homes and sold through 90,000 contractors, Wozniak said. The Lyric’s $279 cost tops the Nest’s $249.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll take HomeKit-enabled devices – exclusively, thanks.

As we wrote back in January:

We are replacing our Nest thermostats with fuller featured, far more reliable Honeywell devices.

A lot has been made of Google getting former Apple employees with their wild overpayment for Nest Labs. However, if Apple really wanted and valued these employees, they’d still be at Apple.

Related articles:
Honeywell takes dead aim at Google’s Nest with new iPhone-compatible Lyric smart thermostat – June 10, 2014
Dead to me: Apple’s Schiller ‘unfollows’ Tony Fadell and Nest after Google acquisition – January 18, 2014

17 Comments

  1. I agree with the MDN take – when Lyric is available I will be replacing my NEST Thermostat.

    I find the motion sensing auto away feature on the Nest to be troublesome. There have been times, while ill for instance, I have fallen sleep on the couch in the middle of the afternoon and awaken to a very cold house because the Nest didn’t see any movement for while. Similarly, there have been times I’ve been immersed in a work project, and noticed the house was suddenly feeling very cold – again no movement in front of the motion sensor. I like the geolocation feature of the Lyric – to me that makes more sense for tracking presence in the house.

  2. This is rather funny.

    I am big Apple fan but notice it is pushing how YOU have to adjust settings. They keep hitting how life is unpredictable as a contrast to Nest which claims to automatically learn your routines.

    This implies to me that Nest has the IP on “learning your routine” so the Lyric cannot touch it. Surprises me that they charge more for a product that is less capable than the Nest.

    Still I would never buy nest now that it is with Google – I do not want big brother google knowing when I come and go. Creepy!

    Gotta say though – the unit is really nicely designed. Did Jonny get in on this?

  3. Looks like Apple has got the better hardware strategy, and this Honeywell product is a good example of it.

    Build your own hardware for the primary devices (phone, tablet, notebook), and let a thousand flowers bloom for the peripheral devices (thermostats, car stereos, and I might even predict watches).

    Seems to me that Google has this exactly ass-backwards.

    1. I totally agree. All the ‘experts’ said Apple had missed out not buying Nest yet its a tiny company with a massive job to make an impact against the big boys who will be able to include similar or alternative functionality. It means also that others will be suspicious of supporting it due to Google competing with them. Apple on the other hand can provide the base for those competitors to unify and expand their functionality without fear of real hardware competition while their core products will increasingly enhance those companies products and performance. Surely a far better strategy that seems to reverse the norm.

      1. I disagree. Why would Apple buy Nest if they were in negatioations with Honeywell to partner with them to make this design, which they would have been working on for several years as part oh their HouseKit plans. Apple would not wish to sabotage the HouseKit project by competing with potential partners in a major category of household control.

  4. Oh what a relief, a war that can be fought by Amurdercans on Amurdercan soil. I bet they got so pissed off at not being invited to the last couple wars, Syria and the Ukraine that they are looking to go back to Irock for a sequel. I mean golly the Amurdercans haven’t had a war in light what, nearly a whole president.

    Yes, thanks to a thermonuclearstat war modern day warmongering terroristic Amurderca, won’t be able to keep it’s constitution where it belongs, in the bathroom where on the toilet paper roll.

    I expect will be getting high tech heat seeking missiles that will inadvertently explode someone over the arctic once the “aim for Bin Ladin hit Saddam” guidance system is installed.

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