06
Jan
wemo

Belkin, a little early to the CES party, has just dropped a couple of announcements regarding its WeMo brand. WeMo, for those who don't know, is Belkin's brand of electronic components (so far including a "switch" compatible with anything you could plug into a normal outlet, a baby monitor, and a motion sensor) meant to allow users to control their electronics from anywhere using their mobile device. Until now, however, WeMo has only been compatible with iOS devices.

In today's announcement, Belkin says that's about to change. WeMo is expected to bring Android compatibility "later this year," which the company considers a "necessary step for the continued success and evolution of the WeMo brand." An open beta test for Android users is set to start in February for users of Samsung's Galaxy SIII and "other leading devices".

The Android beta is set to start a few months before the launch of Belkin's WeMo light switch, which is actually more exciting than it sounds. The light switch can control a full bank of lights and has the option to schedule lights or use "other WeMo or online triggers" from your phone or tablet.

WeMoSwitch

For more information on Belkin's WeMo announcements, check out the press release linked below, and stay tuned as we dive head first into CES 2013.

Source: Business Wire

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • skitchbeatz

    I hope this is affordable.

  • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

    What ever happen with "Android At Home"?

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    I admit to some confusion...

    We are talking about simple home automation, and I do mean simple - this isn't intended to manage home security, operate robotics, do inventory tracking on your beer cooler or speak to guests upon first entering the west wing of your house to guide them to your current location. This is just able to perform on/off toggling of switches, has a basic motion sensor, and a baby monitor... Oh, and they support a couple of semi-smart features (ie. ifttt integration). I'm not confused about any of this.

    My confusion stems from the fact that we aren't doing way more. Seriously, I had the same, and cooler, stuff in my dorm room over a decade ago with X10 switches that cost half as much (and worked on the same technology). The X10 controllers weren't quite as pretty, but they worked very well and were half the price of the same items from Belkin. In 10 years time, I expected the same technology to have become significantly better, more capable, integrated into current products, and the control and automation should be completely smoothed out...and possibly cheaper, but I think the costs were very reasonable before. None of that appears to have happened.

    Belkin is aiming high to lower the bar. They aren't the only one, there are a few companies putting out similar crap. Even more embarrassing, there are countless kickstarter projects that have tried to put out this kind of stuff, aiming even lower in some cases. I had an argument with a buddy of mine a few months ago about Luminode (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/787856320/the-luminode-an-evolutionary-leap-in-smart-home-te) which he seemingly funded. It's a light switch that promises to "learn", but it's really just a dumbed down (and awkward) way of programming profiles.

    I'm sorry to go on so long, but I think it needs to be said. These products need to be thrown out and somebody should sit down and start from scratch. Home automation products need to be smarter, scalable, efficient, and easy to use. They need to launch with the ability to easily program them and they need to be accessible and controllable from devices in ways that make sense. They need to expect different types of components to become a part of their network or communications, and it must be able to adapt to different situations that may not be ideal. Basically, they need to be marketable products that don't cost a lot and suck even more.

    I thought I would write this and get it off my chest, but I'm only getting angrier about it. I might blog about this later tonight, I feel a huge article coming on...

    • http://www.facebook.com/goddard.rob Robert Goddard

      I work on automated machines that use PLCs with motion controllers and robotics. You sir, are absolutely right. I think it would just be easier/cheaper to get some used/older equipment and program it to automate the while house. Touch screen panel view along with remote login/android app would just seal the deal.

    • spinn360

      http://www.getbrightswitch.com Something similar to this?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        Wow, this article, and my comment, are over a year old. Interesting that you found it.

        And no, this is absolutely NOT a good example of what I was talking about. It's an overpriced light switch that's trying (very late in the game) to ride on the idea behind Nest. It's not new or innovative, and it's not even really meeting any of the criteria I set out a year and a half ago. There are a couple of things that aren't terrible about it, but this is barely even "automation" so much as it is a novelty appliance.

        • spinn360

          I am very bad when it comes to looking at dates, sorry.

          I was thinking this android light switch which is supposed to also run android would be more similar to what you were asking, you know smarter that just a dumb old remote control switch. They seem to be the only ones with something like this that I have seen so far... I will admit that all of this stuff is new to me. Since it has been a year since your original desire for new products that are smarter, scalable, efficient, and easy to use, have any come on the market. I don't know much about nest, every time I look at it, I just think "Oh wow a LCD thermostat" it doesn't grab my interest at all, and I am not so sure that it is what you were looking for either. Anyways, has anything come about that you would be interested in, and if so could you share what these are, so I can check them out.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            Sorry, I think my response came across more aggressively against you than it was intended. I just hate the product because it's really doing nothing that other products don't already do. It's just a networked light switch with internet radio that tries to be exciting by slapping a screen on it.

            I've got my mind on other stuff right now, but I don't want to be that guy that talks trash without giving some kind of suggestion for what I want to see, so here's one simple example of smarter lighting. When I turn on a movie or tv show, I want the system to be smart enough to turn the lights down to 30% (or whatever you set the default to be). Then, if it detects that somebody has stood up and starts walking around, the lights will come up to something like 50%. When the movie finishes, very slowly bring the lights up to 100%. The sensors that handle this stuff are the same ones that could be used by the thermostat, security system, and anything else that might want to know if somebody is in the room.

          • spinn360

            Thanks Cody, and no worries I try not to take things personally on comments. I think those are cool ideas, although I think a company might not get on board with automatic reduction of light for safety reasons. Also that is a very specific setting for one individual. For example if I started watching a movie and the lights dimmed to 30% automatically they would almost instantly be met with yells to turn the light back on by my children, and then they would increase immediately to 50% when the motion sensors picked up my running screaming children. And inevitably they would be returned to full brightness.
            Companies love to please the general, meaning no company would market to a specific like that. Now that light switch I had previously posted, and honestly yes I have prepurchased, is still in development so I cannot say that you are wrong about anything you say about it, but it is supposed to run full android OS alongside its main functions... if this is true then I dont see why you couldnt use IFTTT to setup your Smart TV to tell your lights to dim, or something similar. Now like I said that is very specific, and honestly would not work for me, but it could be made to work with this switch.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            Of course, I was just giving an example of something that should be easily possible with home automation. You're focussing a little closely on the particulars. I wouldn't even want that exact thing, but it's very illustrative of the type of event handling that should be possible.

            My interest in home automation tends more towards locking/unlocking doors remotely, having my tv and other set-top gear turn on/off with a single button press, and having certain things automatically shut off when I leave the house. Each of those things can be achieved if you're willing to rig enough different gadgets together (and if you don't have limiting factors like my really old heating system), but there's no conceivable reason that a single system with several interoperable components can't exist.

          • spinn360

            Okay, now I get what you are saying, and I had the same thought when I first looked into this, some of this a little of that, one of those, a couple of these, and bam you almost got a complete system. I agree there needs to be one setup that has everything needed, but home automation has really only begun to peak out and be known. Most people I talk to don't even know what it is. Eventually it should happen, given that it becomes fully popular enough, which I don't understand why it isnt already, but things like nest, and bright switch get us closer to that goal. At least I think so. Thanks for replying, even on such an old comment thread, it has been insightful.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            I think the real problem is that no company wants to be the first to produce an open system. Each set of products I've seen on the market fail at my expectations because they are islands to themselves. There are 20 different sets of lights that "learn" from people, but none of them talk to each other or any other appliance. There are tons of home entertainment gadgets that can talk to others from the same brand, but most of them are worthless if you shop multiple brands (Samsung and LG are kinda famous for this). The problems aren't that we don't have the technology or that people don't want this stuff, it's that every company is still delusional enough to think that they can dominate the market by themselves.

  • Matthew Fry

    Great! Except the bulbs are like 100 bucks aren't they?