Robot vacuums have become smarter and easier with each generation, and some of the latest models can even join your Wi-Fi network. Neato is leveraging that feature of its Botvac Connected vacuum so that you can monitor and control the device with your Android Wear smart watch or Apple Watch.
The new feature will be delivered via automatic update, and it will allow Botvac Connected owners to start, stop, and monitor the cleaning process.Neato says it’s the first to offer such functionality. While Roomba manufacturer iRobot also offers an app, it doesn’t support smartwatches; and other competitors—including the Samsung PowerBot, bObsweep, and the Miele Scout—don’t have apps at all.
“Smartwatches are letting people do many things right from their wrist--like check in for a flight, get directions, answer the phone, play music,” Neato marketing chief Nancy Nunziati said in a press release. “Why not cleaning? We’re happy to be the first to add this new task to the list.”
Botvac Connected is by no means an inexpensive way to get into robotic vacuums. With a price tag of $700, it comes in towards the upper end. That said, Neato hopes that features such as laser floor-plan mapping (a feature also available on the PowerBot and in another form on higher-end Roombas), a larger brush, and higher-capacity dirt storage will win consumers over.
Why this matters: With smart watches gaining popularity, connected-home device manufacturers will need to put a greater emphasis on app development for these small screens. While they may not be able to handle the functionality that their standard app counterparts can, at least allowing them access to basic functionality like Neato did here, is a good first step.