SmartThings' new home automation hub is sleeker, smarter, and still $99

There are tons of options available when it comes to products designed for automating your home. SmartThings, the home automation company purchased by Samsung last year, has so far offered some unique features like open development tools and a capable radio-packed hub. They are continuing to build on these features with version 2.0 of their home automation hub.

The 2nd-generation hub addresses many of the chief complaints with the first. One of the most important new features is actually a combination of two: battery backup and local processing. Both of these ensure that your custom events and actions can still function (to an extent) even when the power goes out.

Local processing also allows events to occur almost instantaneously, since they no longer have to be relayed directly to the SmartThings cloud.

The second large complaint is expandability. The first hub had no options to add features, but the new one will feature two USB ports to allow for upgrade modules in the future. It also includes a Bluetooth antenna, although it won't be activated at launch.

The hub will be launching with a set of new devices, all smaller and sleeker than last year's. These accessories range from presence sensor key fobs, to motion detection sensors, and specialized units for detecting temperature, leaks, humidity, and other environmental data.

Along with the new hub, there is a new companion app (which you can read more about here) designed to take full advantage of all the new features. The app features a new layout to allow for quick access to rooms, quick actions, camera live-streams, notifications, and a brand new SmartApps store. If you want to record your live-streams, you can opt-in to the Smart Home Monitor service which will be priced at $4.99 per month. SmartThings says it will be running a trial period of the service till the end of 2015.

The hub is now available for sale, as are the apps for Android and iOS. A Windows Phone app will be joining them in the future, but an exact release date has not yet been set.

Source: SmartThings Blog

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