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Nest Thermostat opens up with new developer program and Control4 integration

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Gallery Photo: Nest 2G hands-on
Gallery Photo: Nest 2G hands-on

Nest, the company founded by iPod creator Tony Fadell to reinvent home devices, is opening up. The company just announced a new developer program and web API for its popular Nest Learning Thermostat, allowing third parties to create apps, products, and services that integrate with the thermostat. The program will be open to anyone, and is scheduled to launch early next year. "We've defined what the Nest experience should be," say co-founder Matt Rogers. "And now we're getting ready to open our doors."

Nest meets home automation

And Nest isn't just waiting for others to join up — it's also announcing a partnership to integrate with the popular Control4 home automation system, setting the stage for a big new push into the home market. Control4 owners will be able to control Nest thermostats through their remotes, touch screens, and mobile apps, but the Nest will still program itself automatically with tricks like auto-away and predictive scheduling, and you'll still be able to use Nest's apps. Nest says more such integrations are coming.

It's a big step for Nest, which until now had appeared to be building the foundation for an entirely proprietary smart home system, and has gotten a bad rap from the home automation industry for not playing nice. But reinventing the wheel of home automation by entering competitive markets like home media control and lighting doesn't appear to interest Fadell and Nest — instead the company is rumored to be working on a new smoke detector, another product that's seen little innovation in the past several years. And the company appears to have several more ideas for products in that mold: co-founder Matt Rogers told TechCrunch last month that his mission is to reinvent "all the other unloved white plastic crap in your home." We'll see what the company has in store.