iPod designer Tony Fadell takes on thermostats with Nest Labs

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iPod designer Tony Fadell takes on thermostats with Nest Labs

Tony Fadell, Apple's former Senior Vice President of the iPod Division, oversaw iPod and iPhone development between 2001 and 2009. Ten years after his most iconic project first saw the light of day, the "father of the iPod" has a new product: Nest, a home thermostat that's smarter than the average bear.

Nest is a new breed of home thermostat that Fadell has developed with partner Matt Rogers, who led an engineering team at Apple's iPod division in 2009. Mike Matas, formerly of Delicious Monster and Apple, contributed to the design.

"It's a thermostat for the iPhone generation," says Fadell. Aside from its striking looks and color-coded, digital display, the Nest thermostat boasts impressive features. For example, a motion sensor notices if there are people in a room and adjusts its temperature accordingly. It also learns your habits and preferences, so there's no programming to be done.

Even fine-tuned adjustments of just a few degrees can make a big difference for consumers and the environment. The New York Times notes that each degree cooler (in winter) or warmer (in summer) a house is kept translates into a 5 percent energy savings, according to experts. John E. Bowers, director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency at the University of California, Santa Barbara, likes the idea of using an smart device to monitor those adjustments. "There is a huge amount that can be gained in homes, and an intelligent thermostat could be a great opportunity," he told the Times.

The Nest will ship sometime in November at US$250, via the company's site and Best Buy's website. It certainly looks cool, but what would you expect from "the father of the iPod?"

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