General Electric and Quirky unveil iPhone-connected smart A/C unit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
Window-mounted air conditioners are the latest appliance to receive a connected home makeover, as crowdsourced invention company Quirky and appliance giant GE have unveiled the new iPhone-compatible Aros smart air conditioning unit.

Aros


The $300 Aros integrates intelligent thermostat functionality into a standard window air unit, giving consumers whose homes lack central HVAC systems access to money- and energy-saving features usually reserved for those who can install more permanent solutions like Nest's learning thermostat.

A set of basic touch controls is found on the unit itself, but more advanced functionality can be managed using Quirky's Wink smartphone app. Users can allow the Aros to learn their schedule and adjust cooling settings, for instance, or they can take advantage of their handset's GPS system to turn the unit on or off based on their location.

Budget-conscious consumers can also define a monthly energy quota and have the app alert them when they approach the limit.

Aros


The latest product of the six-month-old partnership between Quirky and GE, the Aros is by far the duo's most ambitious project. Previous releases -- such as an egg tray that alerts users when eggs are going bad and a multi-purpose environmental sensor that detects motion, sound, light, temperature, and humidity -- have attacked specific pain points, but the companies have not addressed core appliances until now.

The Aros is available now from Quirky or Amazon.com, and Quirky says the unit will also be sold in Home Depot retail outlets.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    adamcadamc Posts: 564member
    There goes the $3.2b google spent on Nest.
  • Reply 2 of 44
    alexmitalexmit Posts: 112member
    I'm sure the market will be flooded with these. Lots of folks living in decrepit, 1950's mobile homes with smart devices. (sarcasm)
  • Reply 3 of 44
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    Who uses a window unit anymore? I haven't seen one of those types of AC in years. Most people with homes will use a central air unit for the whole house. If you only need a small space heated or cooled there have also been ductless units with fuzzy logic, timers, and include remotes for years like these ones. A ductless unit like these seems far preferable to a window unit that puts you at risk for home burglary with easy access to getting in your home. I don't see anything the app can do that you can't already do with standard remotes for a much cheaper price.

    http://www.homedepot.com/b/Heating-Venting-Cooling-Air-Conditioners-Coolers-Air-Conditioners-Ductless-Mini-Splits/N-5yc1vZc4m1
  • Reply 4 of 44
    mwhitecomwhiteco Posts: 112member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post



    Who uses a window unit anymore? I haven't seen one of those types of AC in years. Most people with homes will use a central air unit for the whole house. If you only need a small space heated or cooled there have also been ductless units with fuzzy logic, timers, and include remotes for years like these ones. A ductless unit like these seems far preferable to a window unit that puts you at risk for home burglary with easy access to getting in your home. I don't see anything the app can do that you can't already do with standard remotes for a much cheaper price.



    http://www.homedepot.com/b/Heating-Venting-Cooling-Air-Conditioners-Coolers-Air-Conditioners-Ductless-Mini-Splits/N-5yc1vZc4m1



    I use one it's in my living room and I blow the cool air down the small hall to the bedroom at night, I use the remote when in the living room but when I go into the bedroom it doesn't work, sometimes it's still hot when it's set to go off then I have to get back out of bed and turn it back on then reset the thing to go off again, this would be a great unit for people like me. Also I rent where I live and can't use anything else!

  • Reply 5 of 44
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,401member

    I don't want an app to micromanage everything in my home.  An app to control my A/C, an app to control my lighting, an app to control my dog...  That's the problem with these things. Everything works well individually, yet nothing gets along.



    Give me one app, that let's me monitor all home devices as a cohesive unit.  This mixing and matching stuff will get old really fast.

  • Reply 6 of 44
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post



    Who uses a window unit anymore? I haven't seen one of those types of AC in years. Most people with homes will use a central air unit for the whole house. If you only need a small space heated or cooled there have also been ductless units with fuzzy logic, timers, and include remotes for years like these ones. A ductless unit like these seems far preferable to a window unit that puts you at risk for home burglary with easy access to getting in your home. I don't see anything the app can do that you can't already do with standard remotes for a much cheaper price.



    http://www.homedepot.com/b/Heating-Venting-Cooling-Air-Conditioners-Coolers-Air-Conditioners-Ductless-Mini-Splits/N-5yc1vZc4m1



    I seriously take issue with the notion that this solves a problem better than a window unit.

     

    1. Try putting desktop computers into a home office in a home in the south and not adding additional cooling in that space. I've done this for years and you ALWAYS need more cooling than the residential systems can provide in a bedroom sized space with desktop computers.

    2. When you cool a space, the heat you take from it has to go somewhere. In window units, and the portable floor units, the heat is vented outdoors through either a window or other opening to the outside.

    3. The ductless units you referred to are significantly more expensive that small window units, and much harder to install.

    3. These units are actually somewhat portable central air units requiring piping to an outdoor unit. This piping must go through a wall. The installation kits have sleeves you can use to run the freon tubing through a hole you must cut into a wall. In central air units, the heat is pumped outdoors through freon tubing and dissipated into the atmosphere through the "condenser" unit. Thus, no need for exhaust ducts. The heat is pumped out as heated freon. Study up on how refrigeration works.

     

    I'm asserting that window units are much more prevalent that you postulate and they are needed in many modern residential settings that contain home offices with data processing equipment and existing central air conditioning systems.

  • Reply 7 of 44
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mwhiteco View Post

     



    I use one it's in my living room and I blow the cool air down the small hall to the bedroom at night, I use the remote when in the living room but when I go into the bedroom it doesn't work, sometimes it's still hot when it's set to go off then I have to get back out of bed and turn it back on then reset the thing to go off again, this would be a great unit for people like me. Also I rent where I live and can't use anything else!

     


     

    And exactly how would this improve your situation? It sounds like you need a separate AC unit in your bedroom if the cool air isn't reaching there. Or a cheaper alternative would be one or even two window fans. Close all the windows in your home except for one near your bed and the one with the window fan which can be in another part of the house and if you position your bed near that open window it will suck in the cool night air and the fan will blow out the hot indoor air. It doesn't help when the night air is still hot but as long as it is below 80 degrees outside it is very cool especially if you sleep directly in the path of the breeze. 

  • Reply 8 of 44
    mwhitecomwhiteco Posts: 112member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

     

     

    And exactly how would this improve your situation? It sounds like you need a separate AC unit in your bedroom if the cool air isn't reaching there. Or a cheaper alternative would be one or even two window fans. Close all the windows in your home except for one near your bed and the one with the window fan which can be in another part of the house and if you position your bed near that open window it will suck in the cool night air and the fan will blow out the hot indoor air. It doesn't help when the night air is still hot but as long as it is below 80 degrees outside it is very cool especially if you sleep directly in the path of the breeze. 




    I could turn it back on from the bedroom.

  • Reply 9 of 44
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Alexmit View Post



    I'm sure the market will be flooded with these. Lots of folks living in decrepit, 1950's mobile homes with smart devices. (sarcasm)

    That is an unbelievably absurd comment. My house was built in 1982. Does not have central air. I rely on a few window units for air-conditioning. Any more completely inappropriate comments to add?

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post



    Who uses a window unit anymore? I haven't seen one of those types of AC in years. Most people with homes will use a central air unit for the whole house. If you only need a small space heated or cooled there have also been ductless units with fuzzy logic, timers, and include remotes for years like these ones. A ductless unit like these seems far preferable to a window unit that puts you at risk for home burglary with easy access to getting in your home. I don't see anything the app can do that you can't already do with standard remotes for a much cheaper price.



    http://www.homedepot.com/b/Heating-Venting-Cooling-Air-Conditioners-Coolers-Air-Conditioners-Ductless-Mini-Splits/N-5yc1vZc4m1

    More absurdity. The only point you (sort of) make is that windows units can be had much cheaper than $300, but not ones with Smart Controls or iPhone controllability....so if you want that convenience, you pay extra for it.

  • Reply 10 of 44
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mwhiteco View Post

     



    I could turn it back on from the bedroom.


    Yeah but if the thermostat and AC is in your living room it will always be much cooler in there than your bedroom and still turn off too soon. Either set it for 60 degrees so your bedroom can reach around 70, buy a unit for your bedroom, or rent an apartment that has air conditioning for all the rooms.  

  • Reply 11 of 44
    mwhitecomwhiteco Posts: 112member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

     

    Yeah but if the thermostat and AC is in your living room it will always be much cooler in there than your bedroom and still turn off too soon. Either set it for 60 degrees so your bedroom can reach around 70, buy a unit for your bedroom, or rent an apartment that has air conditioning for all the rooms.  




    All I want to do is turn it back on without getting out of bed! Also the landlord won't let me have 2. Also it's easy for you to say go rent another apartnment you are not retired and have only so much money to spend.

  • Reply 12 of 44
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post

     

    That is an unbelievably absurd comment. My house was built in 1982. Does not have central air. I rely on a few window units for air-conditioning. Any more completely inappropriate comments to add?

     

    More absurdity. The only point you (sort of) make is that windows units can be had much cheaper than $300, but not ones with Smart Controls or iPhone controllability....so if you want that convenience, you pay extra for it.


    No in fact I pointed out ductless units that are far more energy efficient than window units already include fuzzy logic and remote controls and have been around for years. These used to be primarily used in Asia and Europe but are catching on here. You obviously didn't click my link. Ductless units also provide heat in addition to cooling which I am not sure if this one does. They also do not remove an entire window from normal use since you mount only the blower at the top of a wall. These already can be added to universal remotes and very likely be controlled by an iPhone. This is nothing new. So instead of getting defensive and angry why don't you replace those ugly and inefficient window units with ductless ones that you can control with your iPhone if you want or the included remote. You're welcome. Or you can do what other people have done with even older houses than yours and get central air. Just because your 1982 house (which isn't exactly old) didn't include central air doesn't mean it can't be installed. 

  • Reply 13 of 44
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jm6032 View Post

     
    2. When you cool a space, the heat you take from it has to go somewhere. In window units, and the portable floor units, the heat is vented outdoors through either a window or other opening to the outside.


    In all AC units, with the exception of the portable floor unit, which is typically for emergency cooling only, the heat is not *vented* outside, it is exchanged through a coil. In that respect a window mounted AC works just like a central AC, but is a bit more compact. The room air is being recycled and cooled. Both types of AC have an inside and an outside component. The floor models do not have an outside component so they do have to vent heated air to the outside through a duct.

     

    If you live in an older dwelling that has no central AC and has a compatible widow style, a window mounted AC is pretty much your only option for cooling with the exception of the Asian ductless systems which are really nice. Unfortunately many older homes without central AC also lack sufficient electrical power to operate a window based system, especially in the bedrooms, where you'd be lucky to have 15 amp circuit being shared with other rooms and more than likely the wall outlet may not be close enough either requiring an extension cord. Recipe for a house fire if you are not careful. I'm just glad I have no need for one of these units. 

  • Reply 14 of 44
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    iOS has officially overtaken Windows now.
  • Reply 15 of 44

    Cool, now I would like to see the same for Cassablanca ceiling fans, and other brands like Reiker and Hunter, etc.  ;)

  • Reply 16 of 44
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Smart thermostat = eco-friendly.

    Smart smoke detector = cheap insurance.

    Smart A/C unit = life saver (in some climates.)

     

    Well, on second thought, a smoke detector could be even more of a life-saver, climate-independent.

  • Reply 17 of 44
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    In all AC units, with the exception of the portable floor unit, which is typically for emergency cooling only, the heat is not *vented* outside, it is exchanged through a coil.


    Respectfully, I think you sort of missed my point. An air conditioner is a heat exchanger. That means it moves the heat from one place to another. If you put the evaporator and the condenser in the same air space, you will end up heating up that air space because the compressor generates heat. Unless you remove the heat from the space in which the evaporator is installed, it essentially stays in that space and adds to the heat generated by the compressor. In window units and floor units, this heat is exhausted to the outside. In the case of the floor units, they come with a clothes dryer type hose that connects to a board shaped plug that is inserted into a window and expands to fill the horizontal gap and the window then seals the top. Effectively, the floor units are window units that have a exhaust hose connected to the back so the heat can go outside. You must not live in the south...

  • Reply 18 of 44
    davendaven Posts: 490member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post



    Who uses a window unit anymore?

     

    I for one use them. I live in the northern US and my house does not have central AC. My house is stone so putting in a ductless unit isn't a viable option. Other than a few nights a year, AC isn't needed. My sister's house, which is newer and more exposed, does have central AC. However, it is costly to cool an entire house when you really only need to cool a bedroom or two. I'm in the market for a replacement AC unit and this may just suit my needs.

  • Reply 19 of 44
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jm6032 View Post

     



    I seriously take issue with the notion that this solves a problem better than a window unit.

     

    1. Try putting desktop computers into a home office in a home in the south and not adding additional cooling in that space. I've done this for years and you ALWAYS need more cooling than the residential systems can provide in a bedroom sized space with desktop computers.

    2. When you cool a space, the heat you take from it has to go somewhere. In window units, and the portable floor units, the heat is vented outdoors through either a window or other opening to the outside.

    3. The ductless units you referred to are significantly more expensive that small window units, and much harder to install.

    3. These units are actually somewhat portable central air units requiring piping to an outdoor unit. This piping must go through a wall. The installation kits have sleeves you can use to run the freon tubing through a hole you must cut into a wall. In central air units, the heat is pumped outdoors through freon tubing and dissipated into the atmosphere through the "condenser" unit. Thus, no need for exhaust ducts. The heat is pumped out as heated freon. Study up on how refrigeration works.

     

    I'm asserting that window units are much more prevalent that you postulate and they are needed in many modern residential settings that contain home offices with data processing equipment and existing central air conditioning systems.


     

    I live in the deep south and have a Mac Pro so I think I know a lot more about this than you give me credit. It can sometimes hover around 100 degrees in the dead of night. I have installed ductless units in less than 2 hours by myself. It might take a little longer but not by much and you will not remove an entire window from view. They also last far longer, are more easily serviced, and are far more energy efficient. You can buy some for around $700 and lower which is not much more than a window type. I see a lot of disadvantages to a window over a ductless but no advantages beyond perhaps price and even that is mitigated in a few years with the cost savings a ductless unit will provide. 

  • Reply 20 of 44
    agramonteagramonte Posts: 345member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post



    Who uses a window unit anymore? I haven't seen one of those types of AC in years. Most people with homes will use a central air unit for the whole house. If you only need a small space heated or cooled there have also been ductless units with fuzzy logic, timers, and include remotes for years like these ones. A ductless unit like these seems far preferable to a window unit that puts you at risk for home burglary with easy access to getting in your home. I don't see anything the app can do that you can't already do with standard remotes for a much cheaper price.



    http://www.homedepot.com/b/Heating-Venting-Cooling-Air-Conditioners-Coolers-Air-Conditioners-Ductless-Mini-Splits/N-5yc1vZc4m1

     

    guess you not been to NYC in some time... tons of apartments use window units here. I freelance at a studio in an old SoHo building that has window units

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