SAN FRANCISCO — Nest outlined its vision for the connected home today (June 17), introducing a new home security camera, rolling out the next-generation model of its smoke detector and announcing new features for its smart thermostat. The star of the show is the new $199 Dropcam Pro, now called the Nest Cam.
These weren't just a series of unconnected product announcements. Nest envisions a home where your thermostat, smoke detector, security camera and, really, any connected home product developed to interact with its products will be able to communicate with one another. To that end, Nest is also updating its app to let you control all these devices from a single place.
The Nest Cam, successor to the company's Dropcam Pro, is a bit slimmer than the older model. It boasts improved video, with 1080p resolution compared to the 720p capabilities of the Dropcam Pro. The Nest Cam offers an 8x digital zoom and promises better night vision, thanks to eight built-in, infrared LEDs in the camera.
A tripod mount lets you install the Nest Cam anywhere you want in the home. A built-in speaker should improve the talk-and-listen features that let you speak through the camera as if it were a walkie-talkie. The Dropcam Pro had that ability, though its microphone and speaker were a little underwhelming.
Along with the Nest Cam, Nest is rolling out its Nest Aware cloud recording service, similar to the cloud video recording service offered for the Dropcam Pro. Instead of seven days of stored video history, you now get 10 for the same $10 monthly price. (You can also opt for 30 days of stored video for $30.) The Nest Aware video service also features advanced motion sensing and an activity zone feature that lets you highlight areas of the home you want to monitor.
The $199 Nest Cam is available now for order with the first cameras shipping next week. Nest Cam owners will get a free 30-day trial of the Nest Aware service.
In addition to the new camera, Nest's other hardware announcement involved its Nest Protect smoke detector, which is being updated with a second-generation model. The new version of the smoke detector is slightly smaller than its predecessor — about 11 percent, according to Maxime Veron, head of hardware product marketing for Nest.
"We've made it rounder, friendlier," Veron said. "We worked with new materials. We spent a lot of time with a high attention to detail to make it look the best we can."
MORE: Smart Home: A Guide to Products, Services and Security
More important than looks, the second-generation Nest Protect features a number of internal changes, highlighted by a split-spectrum sensor that's able to detect both fast- and slow-burning fires. Nest also redesigned the smoke chamber of its smoke detector to better keep out bugs and dusts. Veron says the new Nest Protect features a brighter pathlight — the feature that turns on when you walk under the Nest Protect to guide your way in a darkened room
New features for the Nest Protect include an App Silence capability where you can shut down false alarms from your phone using Bluetooth LE. A Sound Check feature will run a diagnostic test once a month on the unit's speaker and horn — usually timed for when you're outside the house. The second-generation Nest Protect is expected to last 10 years; the first-generation model had a seven-year shelf life.
The second-generation Nest Protect has the same $99 price tag as its predecessor. It will ship in July.
Nest Learning Thermostat
The changes to the company's Nest Learning Thermostat were less substantial, confined to a version 4.5 software update that begins rolling out to customers today. But the changes do go toward Nest's goal of having its products interact. The Nest Thermostat will now shut down your heating system when the Nest Protect detects carbon monoxide or smoke in the home. Alerts from the Nest Protect will also appear on your thermostat. If your home gets too hot or cold, your smart thermostat will now send alerts to your phone — the idea being you can stop pipes from freezing or pets from overheating by adjusting temperatures remotely.
Nest expects the software update to roll out to all of its thermostat customers within the next two weeks.
The Nest app you use to control all of Nest's devices has also undergone an update, upgraded to version 5.0. An updated home screen offers a quick overview of everything going on in your home with access to the thermostat, smoke detector and any Dropcams or Nest Cams you have. For even more of an at a glance view, the Nest Cams show live video previews from the home screen of the app. Drill down into each device, and Nest promises easier-to-use controls that are more easily accessible.
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Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.