Emerging Tech

Hands-on with the Glas, the most beautiful thermostat you’ve ever seen

Look out, Nest. You’ve got some unlikely competition: Cortana.

Johnson Controls, which invented the electric room thermostat back in 1885, today opened the doors for consumers to buy the next-generation Glas smart thermostat, the company’s answer to Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell and basically every other smart thermostat company that sought to turn that simple round dial on the wall on its ear. Behind the doors: the most beautiful thermostat you’ll ever lay eyes on.

The Glas consists of a 6-inch wide plastic base about the size of an eyeglass case with a a translucent OLED touchscreen rising from it — the first such screen we’ve ever seen on a piece of consumer electronics. The display shows current temperatures and lets you adjust them, of course, but it also shows air quality and energy savings, and lets you adjust various settings.

In a private demonstration, Digital Trends had a chance to test out the device and screen, and found it to be peppy and responsive to the finger, thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Icons on screen were easy to view, and the menu system was intuitive and logically laid out. Subtle animations danced on the screen to show when the system was heating or cooling, or to show that the system was responding to a finger-press. Much like the Nest, the Glas thermostat should help you save energy (and therefore money) by proactively changing its settings based on its environment.

The Glas will be the very first thermostat to feature a Cortana integration.

The Glas is notable for built-in support for Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana (who stacks up surprisingly well against the competition). This partnership allowed Johnson Controls to build a fairly advanced scheduler that can sync with Microsoft Outlook, though the on-screen display is far more elegant than the productivity app.

Glas isn’t a one-trick pony, of course; the smart thermostat also works with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, giving consumers a range of voice-control choices. We didn’t have a chance to out any of the voice control features, but Glas owners should be able to adjust the temperature by asking their Amazon Echo or Google Home device.

Created by Johnson Controls, Glas will depend upon Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core operating system, and will be the very first thermostat to feature a Cortana integration. But it certainly won’t be the only smart home appliance that will tout Microsoft’s AI assistant. Microsoft has announced plans to bring Cortana to a host of devices, including refrigerators, toasters, and more.

The Snapdragon processor and integrated Internet connection make it a cinch for Johnson Controls to upgrade the device, and needless to say, the company envisions this as a platform. If a host of similarly attractive devices follow, color us interested. Folks will be able to control Glas via mobile, tablet, or web browser, and mobile apps are already available to download for iOS and Android. The Windows 10 app, ironically enough, isn’t live yet, but is “expected soon in the Microsoft Store.”

The Glas smart thermostat is available now online at glas.johnsoncontrols.com and at Amazon.com for $319. It will begin shipping on August 24.

Article originally posted by digitaltrends.

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