Nest, the smart thermostat, is available in the UK starting today, marking the first stage of Nest Labs’ expansion in Europe.
In a blog post, Nest Labs explains why it took so long to bring the thermostat to the UK (the Nest Protect smoke detector has been available in Britain from last year). The problem was the various types of heating systems found in the UK, which required the company to adapt its product into “an almost entirely new Nest Thermostat.”
So, what’s different? To allow the thermostat to connect to any type of boiler, Nest Labs came up with Heat Link, which is a device that plugs into the boiler and communicates with the thermostat through wall wires or Wi-Fi. Because of this setup, Nest Labs recommends professional installation. If you order a device through April 8, you get free installation, when choosing one of the preferred partners listed here. Otherwise, the service costs £70.
Another change is the availability of a stand that lets you place Nest on a desk, kitchen countertop, or wherever else you prefer. This £29 accessory sells separately, and you will have to plug the thermostat in an outlet in order to use it.
The Learning Thermostat remains unchanged in terms of functionality. The device turns heating on and off to reach the temperature that you set, and learns from your habits in order to minimize energy consumption and maintain comfort. The device connects to your smartphone to learn when you are coming home and can tell if nobody’s around and heating isn’t necessary.
Google bought Nest Labs at the beginning of the year for $3.2 billion. The startup’s founder Tony Fadell supervised the creation of the iPod back when he was working for Apple. According to rumors, Fadell and his engineers will become Google’s core hardware design team. But for now, Nest Labs is busy bringing its products outside North America. The UK is just the first stage of a strategy to “expand aggressively” across Europe, but for now, we don’t know when other markets will follow suit.