It breaks my heart when a cool product is messed up with one bone-head design choice. Those of you that have heard me rant about my Sonos music system know that I believe it’s the best product since the Tivo. Unfortunately, it’s the one shinning light in a painful train of near miss products I mess with on a regular basis. My latest major disappointment is the Motorola Home Monitoring and Control product line.
I had such high hopes for the new line of Motorola Home Monitoring and Control gear. What the market needed was a good mainstream provider of reasonably priced gear that one could plug and play into a system. I think ultimately for this stuff to be mainstream its better as a service business, but a good line of gear would help the world get there faster.
It would seem natural that this system would mesh with Motorola’s excellent product line of broadband gateways, one of which acts as my cable modem/firewall on Comcast. After all, both products are under their Broadband & Home Entertainment website. But I would soon find out that is not the case.
The Motorola system comes with a base station that communicates with wired and non-wired endpoints in your house. They have an entire line of stuff like window sensors, water sensors, cameras, motion sensors, keypads, practically everything you need.
I got the “starter kit” that is composed of a wireless base station and a camera. Not a bad deal as the camera alone was only $10 bucks less. I additionally bought a window/door sensor and a water sensor (I have been having water heater problems). I bought the stuff at CompUSA where just the act of walking in the door triggers my “this company is screwed” senses. The price wasn’t bad, $150 for the starter kit and between $20 and $50 for each additional sensor (ok those are a little pricey).
Now, I must confess im not the “product researcher” I once was. I plain don’t have the time. I basically see if it’s “about right”, buy it, and move on. Sometime it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So, I bust open the base station box. Rather, than read the manual (not even sure there was one), I just look on the back of the base station to see what the connections are. OH NO.. The only connection into the box is a USB cable. Yes, its true, in order for this thing to work it has to be connected to a PC. I HATE THAT…
Listen… I WANT LESS SHIT CONNECTED TO MY PC..
Lookout, here it comes.
Motorola, learn something from Sonos.. The devices that will rule the new connected world are standalone devices (we like to hold things in our hands), that can be controlled via IP, can download their own software updates, can use internet resources to provide additional functionality, and don’t require my PC for a brain.
Simply put this was a deal killer for me. My rule of thumb is the infrastructure layer of my house IT system does not include any PC’s. I have wired and wireless networks, all devices are encouraged to use those. I have printers connected to this network, anything is welcome to use those printers. I have network connected storage, any or all devices are welcome (an encouraged) to use it. I have broadband Internet connectivity, and encourage any device to download their new brain, get new rules, talk to other devices, entertain me, or whatever their mission is, through that. But.. I will not build a tower of reliance on my malware infected cesspool that I call my PC…
So.. I boxed up what surely represented $100M in R&D spending on the part of Motorola and tomorrow it goes back to CompUSA (if BestBuy hasn’t bought the storefront yet).