Oct. 2, 2012 -- About a year ago, a Silicon Valley start-up, led by former Apple executive Tony Fadell, set out to create the highest-tech thermostat on the market. They called it the Nest, the first thermostat to have a beautiful design and to let you adjust your home's temperature by long distance with an app.
It turns out that there was indeed a market for the high-tech thermostat, and today the company is releasing the second-generation model of the Nest.
The new model is 20 percent slimmer than the previous one, and is more compatible with heating and cooling systems. And the new 3.0 software, which can also be loaded on older models, has a new system-match feature that works with different types of home systems to make better predictions.
"The new hardware expands Nest's compatibility from 75 percent of residential heating and cooling systems to 95 percent," Maxime Veron, the head of product marketing at Nest, told ABC News. "We know our customers are among the most demanding customers, and are interested in some of the most advanced heating and cooling systems."
The new system-match software figures out what kind of home cooling or heating system you have. If you have a forced air system, an early-on setting will account for how long it takes the system to get to a specific temperature and make adjustments automatically so that it starts cooling when it needs to. There are similar features for people with radiant and heat pump systems.
With the iPhone and Android apps, you can still schedule when you will be away from the house so heating and cooling are turned off after you leave. The app also lets you change the temperature from afar -- whether you are on the couch or in another state.
The Nest 3.0 update will start being delivered to customers tonight. The new Nest, which costs $249, will start shipping in mid-October. It is available at Apple.com, Amazon, and other retailers.