It's called the "Nest Protect." The Protect is supposed to be a more intuitive, simpler, and better looking version of the standard smoke and carbon monoxide detector, which can be bought for $32 on Amazon.
Instead of blaring an alarm at the slightest smoke, the Nest Protect is smart enough to figure out if it's just, say smoke from burnt bacon, and then warn you verbally. If it is just bacon smoke, then you can wave your hand in front of the Protect, and it will shut off.
Other features that Nest thinks makes the Protect worth the premium: It has a center ring that lights up in the dark providing a night light of sorts. The ring color also adjusts to let you know if the battery is low on juice. You also get a text if the battery needs replacement, which is much better than the mystery squeal that comes from most smoke detectors when the battery is dead.
This is the second product from Fadell and Nest. The first product was the Nest thermostat, which is a sleek thermostat that analyzes a users behavior to adjust the temperature in a house.
The thermostat and the smoke detector are going to work together to get a better sense of how people are moving around in their homes. It sounds a little creepy, but once you get over the creep factor, it's actually quite useful.
Nest is trying to create an always connected, intelligent home that can save energy and in the case of the smoke detector, save lives.
Fadell was at Apple when it built the iPhone. He likened the Protect to the iPhone in an interview with Wired, saying, "When we set out to build the iPhone, people said we should buy a cell phone design team and apply the Apple magic to it ... I said, no—what we’re doing is building hardware, software, and services, with a little bit of phone in it. That’s what we’re doing here at Nest. Protect has a little bit of smoke and CO detector in it, but you really need those other things—algorithms and sensors and connectivity and apps and data—to reinvent the category. Disruptive technology isn’t a better sensor, it’s about this whole network of things."