The Belkin WeMo line is designed to bring Wi-Fi connected remote home automation to the masses, without expensive, whole home system upgrades. The existing WeMo outlet is a little bulky, but it makes it possible to remotely power on and off any device with a two or three-prong cord. Now, the company is debuting an in-wall switch to make controlling your lighting from an app or the web (via IFTTT) easier.
The WeMo Ligtht Switch is here at CES, and we got a chance to go hands on (well, really, single finger on). The switch looks like a switch, and should work with essentially any existing light switch in most modern homes. It can be managed from the existing WeMo iOS app that’s available for iPhone and iPad devices, which means you’ll be able to easily add them to your existing WeMo setup.
In practice, the WeMo was a step-up and a step forward for Belkin’s line of home automation product, beating out the WeMo outlet and motion detector products in terms of their ability to mesh into your existing home decor. And the switch also works as a physical switch, so that you can still turn it on and off manually. But while it looks at first glance like a rocker-type switch, meaning my first inclination was to tap the top, only hitting the bottom will actually activate the line or turn it off.
The WeMo Light Switch still has a while to go before it hits the market, however; a Belkin representative told me it won’t hit store shelves until this upcoming summer, when it will retail for $49.95. Theoretically, it could undergo a slight design tweak between now and then to address that minor user experience issue, and even if the design doesn’t change, it’s an attractive, inexpensive way to add a little remote control to a house with otherwise legacy lighting.
Belkin also says they’re finally addressing customer requests for an Android control app for WeMo systems, with a beta launching soon for devices like the Galaxy S III, and a wide launch planned for sometime around summer as well.
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