Routers may not be the worst piece of consumer electronics — I'd still give the crown to printers — but they're never far from the top of the list of miserable tech to deal with. For a good decade, no one seemed care. But this year, Google started trying to make routers a lot easier to use with its OnHub series. And now, Linksys is starting to head in that direction too.
Linksys announced today that it's planning to overhaul the companion app that can be used to control its routers. That doesn't sound like much, but the overhaul is supposed to give the app something resembling a modern design, pare down its long list of options into a more digestible format, and start to make helping users a priority.
It's a very (very, very) basic start
The key new feature will be alerts that the app sends when your router stops working. If it goes offline for a while, the app will send you a notification saying that something is wrong. Swiping the notification might send you to a troubleshooting page or a live chat with someone from Linksys support.
That's really, really basic, but it still suggests a more pleasant future for using Linksys routers. That said, even this basic implementation remains off in the future. Linksys is only announcing its intention to overhaul the app today — it doesn't even have the new functionality entirely figured out. There isn't a target release date yet, but the app should work for new and existing routers. Notifications, however, may only be available to owners of more expensive routers.
That's a bit frustrating — no surprise, really — but it's a start. Google is clearly making life harder for Linksys and other router manufacturers. They can't just cruise by now that there's a competitive option. Announcing an app update isn't much, but it suggests that Linksys has realized it's time for a change.