Wink's New Touchscreen Smart Home Panel Belongs in the Jetsons' Foyer

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When it introduced its ultra affordable hub a few months ago, Wink signaled that it wanted to win the smart home wars. Now, with the release of a touchscreen display and control pad called Relay, it's clear that the Quirky off-shoot is in a hurry, too. It's not like the home of the future is going to build itself!

Relay is exactly what it sounds like: a wall-mounted panel for controlling your smart home. Or, more specifically, it's a touchscreen display for accessing all of your Wink-enabled devices. Whereas previously, controlling a Wink device required a smartphone, Relay provides a central location from which you can can do it all.

That said, it's basically a smartphone mounted on your wall that only has one app: Wink. The 4.3-inch multi-touch display even runs on Android. However, the software's specifically designed to work on the wall. Your home screen displays two large, buttons so that program to perform a series of tasks. Maybe you want one to run a "Wake Up" shortcut that turns on your lights, opens your blinds, and fires up your air conditioner. The other, naturally, could be a "Go to Sleep" button that turns everything off.


The Wink smartphone apps already had these capabilities, but Relay is designed to make it easy to control your smart home without reaching for your phone all of the time. The panel also includes some bonus hardware that the app lacks. You get two programmable physical buttons that feel like an elegant light switch. There's also a proximity sensor that knows when you're in the room and even picks up on temperature and humidity. Soon, the panel will feature a speaker and microphone so that it can function as an intercom. And despite how sophisticated and futuristic the panel looks, Relay is also a cinch to install. With the help of an adaptor, it simply clicks onto the front of a standard light switch panel.


But that's not all! With the release of Relay, which is available for pre-order today on Amazon and for $300, Wink is also giving its smartphone app a handsome update. The company is also announcing new integration with products from Gilmour, Linear, and—most exciting—Nest Labs. That means almost 20 companies now make Wink-enabled products. Let's just hope Wink can keep up with its own ambitions, since so far, that's been a bit of a challenge.