Wink Redux

Nov 14, 2014 by


Just when we thought we understood how Quirky was positioning Wink as a product, company, and brand, a new wave of product announcements has us questioning everything again. This week, Quirky + GE [that’s the branding: Quirky + GE] announced a whole line of new products compatible with the Wink hub and ecosystem.

To be clear, these are product announcements, not product launches. To summarize…

  • Tripper is a standard open/closed sensor for doors and windows. $40 gets you two sensors, though they’re fairly large (and white) when compared to Fibaro’s long-awaited equivalent. Tripper is scheduled to be available in December.
  • Overflow is a standard cable-extended water sensor that will cost $35, and it’s expected to ship in February.
  • Outlink is a U.S. electrical outlet replacement with one standard outlet and one programmable outlet that is also capable of monitoring energy consumption. The product should ship before the end of the year for $50. It’s initially available in white (only) and includes a screwless faceplate.
  • Tapt is a U.S. electrical switch replacement with two programmable buttons to control a wired load or link to other devices on a Wink system—like connected bulbs. Tapt will cost $60, and it will also include a screwless faceplate, come in white (only), and ship by the end of the year.
  • Ascend is a garage door opener controller that is designed to retrofit any UL-listed ½ - ¾ horsepower opener manufactured from 1993 on. It will enable geofencing control, remote access, and monitoring. Ascend will cost $100, and it’s expected to ship in February.
  • Spotter is a multi-sensor device that’s already available today. This announcement, however, appears to be for an updated product. In our initial tests, the current Spotter’s battery life was poor and vibration sensors unreliable. Hopefully this newer, more expensive (at $60) version due out in February will correct these issues.
  • Continuing the IKEA naming theme,  Spotter UNIQ is a modular version of the Spotter multi-sensor, made to order with custom colors (white, charcoal, or mint green) and up to four sensors or programmable buttons. UNIQ will range in cost from $40 – $110, depending on how you configure it. Quirky will manufacture these on demand and expects to be shipping before the end of the year.
  • Norm rounds out the list of new products. Touted as a replacement for the traditional thermostat, Norm uses a combination of onboard and remote sensors from your Wink network to normalize (get it?) the temperature in your home across rooms. At $80, it’s an economical alternative to what’s quickly become a high-ticket smarthome staple, but its intentional lack of onboard controls and display may inhibit adoption. Norm is expected to ship before the end of the year.

All of these products are designed to work with the Wink Hub or the previously announced Wink Relay (still notably branded as Wink). This is the Android-app-joined-to-sensors-and-two-buttons-to-replace-a-wall-switch. The Relay is also scheduled to ship before the end of November. It’s an intriguing product, but at $300, it could face some challenges.

These announced products are all good additions to any smarthome ecosystem, but few are distinguishable from currently available Z-Wave or ZigBee products. We’re also concerned that the lack of color options (i.e., white only) for most of the products that would be visible in homes could make them a hard sell for some families.

You can find more information about all of these new products from Quirky (if you don’t mind being nagged by annoying full-page promos). Or from Wink.