A new window air conditioning unit looks to add Nest-like smart home functionality to an appliance that, to this point, hasn’t been all that smart. It’s called the Quirky+GE Aros, and it’s a Wi-Fi-capable, smartphone-compatible 8,000 BTU system that will retail for $300 when it arrives in May (h/t Wired).
The Quirky+GE Aros fills a void in homes that want to become more automated but don’t have central air conditioning. Smart thermostats like the Nest can get the job done during the winter if you have a gas or electric heating system, but they’re lost in the warmer months without a way to control cooler air.
The Aros hopes to pick up where smart thermostats leave off, cooling your home or apartment to your desired temperature by responding to your commands and learning your preferences.
It’s really one of those products that should have come along sooner. Those without central air and a smart thermostat are forced to either leave their air conditioner on while they’re gone, or turn it on when they come back. I’ve usually chosen the latter approach, and have been punished by walking into a sauna of an apartment on many occasions.
Workarounds have existed; for example, connecting your A/C unit to a Belkin WeMo so you can control its power remotely. But this won’t work for newer units that don’t have an analog on-off switch, and you can’t control the unit’s temperature. This setup also lacks the ability to learn, and that’s something that the Quirky+GE Aros team seems to be putting a lot of focus on with its product.
I’m hoping to get my hands on one of these in a few months so I can try it out. The price isn’t bad; there are many 8,000 BTU air conditioners in the $200-$300 range on Amazon, and these aren’t quite as technologically advanced as the product that Quirky and GE are putting out.
The Aros will arrive in early May, but you can plunk down your $300 to pre-order it now if you wish.