Amazon.com Inc. is heading into 2018 with a new weapon to use against the likes of Alphabet Inc.’s Nest in the competitive smart home market.
News broke this morning that the retail giant has acquired Blink Inc., a startup that makes mobile-controlled home monitoring devices. It first rose to prominence in 2014 after raising $1 million on Kickstarter to fund the development of a smart security camera (pictured) with motion detection capabilities. Today, Blink’s product lineup also includes an outdoor model with night vision support and a video doorbell that packs a lens to let the user see who’s knocking.
What sets the devices apart from most competitors, including Amazon’s Cloud Cam, is that they don’t come with a power cable. Blink’s cameras and doorbell instead operate on simple AA batteries that can last upwards of a year for the average user.
The fact there’s no need to run a cable to the devices makes them much easier to install than wired alternatives, a major advantage in the consumer electronics market. Plus, they’re made even more accessible by Blink’s competitive pricing. The indoor camera and doorbell both start at $99, while the outdoor monitoring system is available from $129.
All this will make Blink’s product portfolio a valuable addition to Amazon’s lineup. The video doorbell in particular may prove to be a significant pickup, since it costs less than half as much as Alphabet’s competing $229 Nest Hello.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, Blink did state in a notice to customers that it will continue “selling and supporting the same great products you know and love” under the Amazon umbrella. That means that the devices will likely retain the Blink brand for the foreseeable future.
Longer-term, Amazon may change that arrangement to align the startup’s hardware better with Amazon’s homegrown smart appliance lineup. Bringing Blink into the fold would be fairly straightforward from a technical standpoint, since its products already integrate with the retail giant’s Alexa virtual assistant.
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