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Quirky wants to own your connected home with a slew of smart gadgets

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Quirky is making a huge leap beyond cute, but not-so-useful smart home gadgets, like its infamous intelligent egg tray, into connected gadgets that could actually make your life better. At a press event today, the company unveiled seven new smart home gadgets produced together with its partner GE, ranging from connected light switches and electric plugs, to an ambitious smart thermostat that doesn't look like any thermostat you've seen before. The new devices join the Aros. the smart air conditioner the two companies launched a few months ago, and they're all compatible with Wink, the smart home platform that spun out of Quirky earlier this year. And as with all of Quirky's products, they're all born from ideas submitted by the Quirky community.

Gallery: Quirky + GE announcements | 27 Photos

Here's a quick rundown of Quirky and GE's new toys:

  • Tripper: An inexpensive sensor that can tell when your doors and windows have been opened. ($40 for a pack of two)
  • Overflow: A moisture and water sensor. ($35)
  • Outlink: A smart wall outlet for power control and energy monitoring. It includes one smart power outlet and a standard one. ($50)
  • Tapt: A smart wall switch that lets you control other smart devices, even when they're switched off. You can also dim lights connected to it from the Wink app. ($60)
  • Ascend: Turns most garage doors into smart doors, allowing you to open and close it remotely and detect when it's been opened. ($90)
  • Norm: A "not a thermostat thermostat," it's a sensor-packed device that can control your heating and cooling. ($80)
  • Spotter UNIQ: A revamped version of the company's Spotter home sensor, it can be customized online to include whatever sensors you want (above). ($30 to $120)

You'll notice some common refrains with the new smart gadgets. They all offer remote control capabilities, mobile alerts, and ways to make your life more efficient (by making common tasks easier and saving energy usage). The key to these devices, compared to many things Quirky has announced in the past, is that it's easy for consumers see how they could be useful. They're not just cute and over-designed gadgets for people with too much money.

Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman said the company has been working on this new family of devices since it teamed up with GE last year. That partnership seems to have been beneficial to both companies: It's given Quirky more resources to ramp up its product development, and it gives GE a foothold in the world of smart devices. All of the new devices also feature GE's company logo, serving both to make the aging corporate giant appear young and hip, and it gives the gadgets a trusted seal of approval among less tech-savvy customers.

Quirky also announced today that it's opening a new office in San Francisco in December, which will serve as a "microfactory" for the Spotter UNIQ, as well as other customizable devices in the UNIQ line. You can order the Spotter UNIQ from Wink.com, customize it with sensors to your heart's content and it'll be put together entirely in San Francisco. Along with all of this news, Wink's mobile app is getting a big refresh. You can now create shortcuts to the functions you use most in the app; create "robots" to control the overall behavior of your connected devices, like turning everything off when you get to bed; and view a stream of activity of all the devices connected to Wink. You can download the new Wink app now.

Quirky Robot Butler Ad:

Now that it has a family of connected home gadgets, Quirky is also reaching out to consumers with a new ad campaign starring a creepy robot butler. It pits the Wink-connected smart home as the pleasant alternative to having a robot with cold, dead eyes living in your home. "We believe the smart home is the future, but it's not necessarily the future depicted way back when," Kaufman said. "Robot butlers, while amazing in concept, don't exist yet ... If they did exist they'd be really freaking awkward."

Kris Naudus contributed to this report.

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