By Michael Liedtke
Tony Fadell, a gadget guru who helped design the iPod and original iPhone while working at Apple, is counting on his latest innovation to prove that a smoke detector can be sleek, smart and appreciated.
The device, called “Nest Protect,” is the second product hatched from Nest Labs Inc., a startup founded by Fadell in 2010 in an attempt to infuse homes with more of the high-tech wizardry that people take for granted in smartphones. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has 270 employees and has raised tens of millions of dollars from investors that include Google Inc.’s venture-capital arm and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm with a long record of backing innovative ideas.
Besides sensing smoke, Nest Protect is designed to detect unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. That could broaden the square-shaped device’s appeal, especially in the growing number of states that require homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors.1 2 next >>