ecobee announces the ecobee4 with built-in Alexa

Apple World Today will soon be publishing a full review of the ecobee3 lite smart thermostat, but today that device is out of the limelight as ecobee announced the next-generation smart thermostat -- the ecobee4 with Alexa (US$249). 

Basically, what ecobee has done is to add Amazon Echo capabilities and the Alexa AI to a thermostat. The existing ecobee3 lite ($169) can be controlled by both Siri and Alexa, but this new feature means that your smart thermostat can now respond directly to queries for "everything" from across the room, be used to read the news, or control other devices in the home.

ecobee is also planning to bring an Alexa-enabled smart light switch to market later this year. That switch will also listen and respond to questions, and will act as a room sensor for the ecobee4 providing occupancy and temperature information. Like the ecobee3 lite, you'll still have remote control of your home comfort through the iOS app.

ecobee designed the thermostat with "good ears" -- it uses far-field microphones to make sure that it can be heard from almost anywhere in a room regardless of background noise. ecobee4 will be available via retail outlets on May 15, 2017.