How Has Nest Acquisition Paid Off for Alphabet?

While it was still an independent company in 2012, Nest introduced its first smart thermostat, the third generation of which now sells at a retail price around $250. In early 2014, Google, now Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), paid $3.2 billion to acquire Nest. Since then, not much has happened to make Alphabet happy with that investment.

On Thursday, Nest released a lower-priced version of its learning thermostat called the Thermostat E at a retail price of $169. Made all of plastic, the new device also lacks the original thermostat’s time and temperature display screen.

Like its forebear, the Thermostat E can be controlled remotely with a mobile app or from a laptop, and the device uses the same control ring (although made of plastic) as the original’s metal ring.

Owners can adjust heating or cooling temperatures using the wheel or the mobile app. It is also possible to set operating schedules, review energy use history, create accounts for everyone in the family, and monitor connected hardware like the Nest Protect smoke detector.

Aside from the Nest Cam, which was a primarily rebranded version of a device that Nest/Alphabet acquired with a company called DropCam, the payoff for Alphabet’s investment in Nest has been pretty slim. Former Nest CEO Tony Fadell left the company last year and Ars Technica detailed other troubles at the time in the company.

The company has been shipping new products, for which much of the blame was laid at Fadell’s feet. But in the year or so since he left Nest, there hasn’t been much progress made on that front either.