The people at Nest have had a rough year. Following founder Tony Fadell's exit in June and parent company Google launching its own unaffiliated smart home product in May, many have been wondering what the future of Nest will look like. Now, it appears the company is betting big on ... smart home cameras?
Today, Nest announced a new Cam Outdoor (available now for pre-order), the companion camera to the indoor version that was release last summer. The new outdoor cam is wired, shoots 1080p HD video, and has a two-way microphone that lets you communicate with people nearby.
If you're familiar with Nest products, you'll notice right away that the Cam Outdoor is more rugged than the company's previous products. It's designed to be mounted on the outside of your home (or business) and withstand the elements. The mounting bracket is magnetic -- a strange decision for something that will be exposed to the elements -- and the camera stays plugged in so that it won't run out of battery.
The Nest Cam Outdoor isn't exactly the most sophisticated security camera: It doesn't connect to an alarm, and it can't alert the authorities if there's something bad is happening on camera. For only $US200 ($263), though, it's a really cheap way to monitor your home or other places you want to keep tabs on.
The biggest selling point for Outdoor Cam (much like other Nest products) is the Nest Aware software. It costs as little as $US10 ($13) a month, and it lets you record 10 days of video history. You can use the Nest app on your phone or desktop to playback videos you've captured. The most basic subscription gives you 100GB of cloud storage, but you can also upgrade to 300GB if you have several cameras set up around your home or office.
The Nest Aware software works to give you better alerts to your phone, too. The app allows you to set four areas per camera called "Activity Zones" that will force the software to keep a closer eye on those areas. If it detects unusual activity, the software will send an alert to your app.
The Nest Outdoor Cam is far from being the most innovative product of the year. In fact, we'd be surprised if anyone remember this camera at all in a year. But for the few people who want a cheap, waterproof, internet-connected camera to monitor the outside of a building -- this is a decent option.