Oct. 2, 2012 at 8:05 PM ET
While home thermostats aren't exactly the most exciting area of technology, the Nest made a splash last year with its good looks and intuitive interface. Now there's a new Nest with a few design tweaks and new features.
Thermostats, unlike smartphones and other personal gadgets, don't really need to be replaced all the time, so the point isn't to make people update their old device, but to make it possible for more people to buy their first one.
The new Nest is 20 percent thinner and has a snazzy new mirror-finish steel border, which should help picky interior designers square themselves with the idea of a big gadget sticking out of the wall. Nest also claims its device is now compatible with 95 percent of low-voltage heating and cooling systems.
It also ships with a few new features, which existing Nest owners will be happy to learn will also be coming to their original Nests shortly in a software update. They've improved the scheduling function, allowing the device to learn when it should be hitting the heat or A/C early, and when it should be shutting them off as soon as you're out the door. It should also work better with some less conventional heating systems and those of you with radiators.
You can now set it to use Spanish or French as the display language, and the app has been upgraded to support Android tablets. You can use the app to adjust schedules and temperatures, or to track your household's energy usage.
The new Nest keeps the same price as the old one — $249 — or you can pick up the original now for $229. There's more information on the new features and compatibility at the blog post announcing the device.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.