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The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GE's Future-Store

Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store

What happens when a Fortune 500-ranked, 120-year-old company like GE partners with a four-year-old startup like Quirky? Today, six months after announcing a partnership, the companies launched their first co-branded products.

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They're designed to bring a little bit of gee-whiz connectivity to mundane household objects, from your egg tray to your power strip. Each gadget is Wi-Fi enabled, and they run on an iOS and Android app called Wink—designed in-house by Quirky's growing team of developers. This is the company's first piece of software, and it's just a hint of what's to come, according to CEO Ben Kaufman, who presented the products last week. These fun little gadgets run the gamut from gimmicky to truly useful—in other words, it's Quirky sticking its toe into the Internet of Things.

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It also gives me a chance to broach an interesting question about the connected home: Is there such a thing as too connected? As Wi-Fi connectivity makes its way into the nooks and crannies of our lives, will there come a point when we decide we don't actually need a push notification when we're running low on toothpaste? Or are ubiquitously-connected objects simply a sign of things to come—a future where all objects have a voice?

It's something to ponder—in the meantime, check out the co-branded project below.

Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
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The Spotter

This palm-sized device works as an all-around sensor: Light, sound, motion, and temperature, all in one device. Like Twine and other programmable sensors before it, it's designed to let you choose what to track. But unlike those, it attempts to make said tracking a bit easier.

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This is the most versatile—and maybe the most intriguing—of the five new products, simply because what you do with it is totally up to you. While every other device drills down into a specific purpose, this one hints at a more flexible network of connected objects. [$50]

Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
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Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store

The Egg Minder

The Egg Minder keeps track of the freshness of 14 eggs and sends you a text if you're almost out. With Wi-Fi connectivity and two AA batteries, it's a lot of tech to keep in your fridge—but if you're really that forgetful, why the hell not? [$70]

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Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
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Pivot Power Genius

Pivot Power is one of Quirky's original smash successes—and the "genius" revamp is actually pretty brilliant. The original product is a pivoting power strip that lets you fully utilize each socket. The new one lets you turn the sockets on and off remotely. That means you could, say, turn your a/c on a few minutes before you get home. Or double-check your iron is off. [$80]

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Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
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The Nimbus

Nimbus is quad-clock dashboard aimed, in the words of Quirky's reps, at "early adopters." It allows you to choose the inputs on each of its four faces, to slurp data from sources as disparate as Facebook, to the weather, to the actual time. [$130]

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Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
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Porkfolio

Porkfolio, har har, was designed by a dad who wanted to create a more interactive piggy bank for his kid. Maybe not quite as pertinent to daily life, but certainly giftable. [$70]

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Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
Illustration for article titled The First Five Smart Home Appliances From Quirky and GEs Future-Store
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According to Quirky, these are just the first of a handful of products coming down the pipeline—check out the GE + Quirky page for more.

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DISCUSSION

Sometimes I worry too much about inter-connectivity in the house, work, and in general life. It makes life easier some days, but it also makes life more difficult other times. Especially, if you have to teach someone how to use one of your gadgets or if they refuse to use it which negates the purpose of the gadget. For example, I have a Harmony remote it does everything I need it do. I have programmed for every possible combination of activity that you could possibly want. My old room mates refused to use it, thus negating the effectiveness of the remote because if I decided to use it, I would have to go through help to get back into the correct position for it to work, thank fully they are gone, and the Harmony works quite well for my wife and I. I've seen some stuff at work like this happen too especially with Digital Calendars that people refuse to post their appointments to.

If the Nimbus drops in price I will have to aquire one, I don't know what I would want to put the clocks yet, but I think it would be useful.

As for the Pivot Power Genius if that drops to $50 I would be hard pressed not to buy it. That is as long as it a good surge protector and will keep my electronics from being fried, it would be a useful tool. Especially when you have room mates, and living companions who refuse to turn things off when they are done with them.

I would not use the Porkfolio(but I'm not the target audience so big surprise there), I also am not a fan of the Egg Minder I would think that the battery life wouldn't be too long, and if the batteries do die before it can send out a distress message now you get to remind yourself to buy eggs, and batteries.

The Spotter looks nifty, but I don't see a use for it so who knows? Does anyone have any ideas what they would use it for?