The past few weeks have been rather hard on the Internet of Things market. Despite the slew of new trinkets and ideas that were paraded at CES 2016 earlier this month, bugs and security holes in currently marketed devices cast a rather negative light on connected home appliances. Perhaps Samsung thought it was time to lighten up the mood, especially considering it too has some IoT products to sell. In a set of ads revolving around its SmartThings platform, Samsung reveals how IoT can give you superpowers. Or at least the semblance of it.
If there's one thing Samsung loves, it's slapping big LCDs on the front of refrigerators. CES 2016 is no different, and this time it's the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator's time to shine. Intended, so the company says, to bring back the days where the fridge door was a place to pin up family photos, kids' artwork, and notes, the Family Hub consists of a 21.5-inch Full HD touchscreen and wireless connectivity.
SmartThings has announced a dongle that turns Samsung TVs into the hub of a smart home. The SmartThings Extend USB adapter will allow Samsung TVs to hook into the SmartThings ecosystem, controlling over 200 products ranging from lights, through outlets, and more esoteric kit like baby monitors and more.
Your house may be getting smarter, but it might also have a lot of tiny, sometimes conflicting brains. That is part of the problem of the Internet of Things, with little islands of independent devices that connect to the Internet and your smartphone but not to each other. Next year, however, Samsung has a solution for that, the one appliance that almost every modern home has: a TV. It's 2016 line up of smart TVs will not only be IoT friendly, some can even be IoT hubs themselves.
SmartThings struck it big on Kickstarter, got snapped up by Samsung, and now has begun delivering its much-anticipated Hub 2.0. The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit, the centerpiece of which is the second-generation hub, is in stores today, priced at $249. Best Buy and Sears will carry it on their shelves, while it'll also be available online.
SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson is having a busy year. His company acquired by Samsung, and its second generation smart home platform now shipping, not only is Hawkinson now responsible for one of the leading automation systems, but arguably at the center of Samsung's entire Internet of Things ambitions. I caught up with him at IFA 2015 last week to talk openness, the value of a corporate parent with deep pockets, and his HomeKit frustrations.
Samsung is off to a great start with the Gear S2 smartwatch, with its great UX and broad Android compatibility, but its challenge is only just beginning. The circular-screen wearable is prompting broadly positive first-impressions - from ourselves included - with its discrete design and well-crafted interface, and Samsung has feathered it with a number of high profile apps out of the gate.
SmartThings' second-generation home automation hub is shipping in the US, with the new box adding a backup battery in case of power outages. First product from the company to launch since its acquisition by Samsung, the SmartThings Hub V2 can now run for up to ten hours even if its power connection has died, and also supports a select array of offline functionality so that your smart home still works even if the internet goes down.
Amazon's cylindrical Echo home assistant is gaining another automation ability, hooking up with Samsung-owned SmartThings for the speech-controlled smart home. While it's not the first such integration we've seen Echo add in the months since Amazon launched the chipper speaker, it could well be one of the most far-reaching, thanks to SmartThings' broad compatibility with a huge - and growing - number of third-party automation devices.
Samsung seems to be on a roll. After unveiling the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ and announcing the actual launch of Samsung Pay, the company's year-old subsidiary is also making a big splash. Delayed by almost half a year, SmartThings is giving the green light for pre-orders of its brand new Hub device. Although owners are not required to upgrade to this new version, some might consider it worth the purchase considering a crucial update to the capabilities of the smart home central brain.
Samsung has launched a new range of chipsets intended to get your home appliances online and talking to each other, borrowing smartphone chip tech for its new ARTIK range. The trio of tiny boards - as small as 12 x 12 mm - connect via Bluetooth, WiFi, or ZigBee, model depending, with Samsung hoping they find their way into everything from connected toasters and fridges to future wearables. Meanwhile, since having your coffee pot hacked is probably considered unwelcome, ARTIK has baked-in hardware encryption.