Logitech aims to make smart home control easier by introducing a simple and elegant gadget to lead the process.
Meet the Pop, a broad button linked through Bluetooth LE to a hub that plugs directly into an outlet. The hub is the brains behind the functionality as it can link itself to an array of smart home devices, such as LIFX bulbs, Hue lights, August locks and Lutron drapes.
With the iOS and Android companion apps, users can scan the Wi-Fi network for devices that play nice with the hub and remotely command those gadgets via Pop's easy controls.
Despite being a single button, Pop can be customized to react to three different interactions: users may press, double press and long press each Pop button, leading to a different action.
For example, a user might use one pop to switch the Hue lights on, customize it to dim the lights with a long press and so on. For extra flexibility and control over additional devices, users simply need to add more Pop buttons. Keep in mind that the Starter Pack delivers two buttons and a hub, but the first hub can support more Pops.
One strong reason for the "less is more" approach Logitech took in this case is the worrisome app bloat that tends to come with smart home control. Many times, new gadgets mean new apps bulking your collection.
The Pop comes in four color options, so it is easier for users to remember which one does what. Seeing how many devices Pop it is compatible with, we look forward to seeing future variants of the device sporting more than three actions.
Meanwhile, Logitech argues that their surveys found that people tend to place only one Pop per room, meaning that the three actions met the needs for that particular chamber.
"You still want to be simple, you still want to be capable," says Neil Raggio, Logitech's Senior Director of Home Control.
One thing that all tech companies are working on is to create simple elegant controls, and no place is more in need of such traits that the smart home. Logitech's Pop app takes care of the programming stage via easy, drag and drop recipe creation. Also, a text-laden user interface gets into the details without intimidating users.
According to Tech Crunch, installing Pop was significantly easier than deploying Logitech Harmony devices. This shows that the OEM has built the new gadget with a large audience in mind, as opposed to its fan base of home theater junkies known to be on the tech savvy side.
Users might find that the Pop is a neat replacement to Amazon Alexa's conversational, voice-based smart home assistant. More advanced techies could go the extra mile and use both at the same time.
This August, the U.S. market should see both the individual Pop units and the Pop Home Switch Starter Pack hitting the shelves. Just as a reminder, the starter pack costs $99.99 and comes with two Pops and a hub, while a Pop asks buyers to shell out $39.99 for one piece.