Home automation vendors are having a tough time selling their own touchscreens against the low-priced elegant iPad.
Now Control4 is making it easier to pick a dedicated touchscreen over Apple’s multipurpose tablet.
The new InfinityEdge breaks the (plastic) mold that has defined Control4’s industrial design since 2004.
The 5- and 7-inch (diagonal) screens feature edge-to-edge capacitive glass and a low profile, like the iPad. And they’re priced at $599 and $899, almost like the iPad.
But the devices act like Control4 touchscreens, dedicated to the control of lights, security, thermostats, audio/video and other home systems. Since they’re compatible with Control4 OS 2.0, they also can be used to access a growing roster of apps from the 4Store.
InfinityEdge screens are powered over Ethernet or AC power, and feature both wired and Wi-Fi connectivity options.
Pricing is ‘Unheard of’
In the press release, Control4 CEO Will West says the InfinityEdge touchscreens offer price points that are “unheard of in the custom residential industry.”
Such pricing (dealers maintain standard Control4 margins) will be required to tip the scales towards dedicated touchscreens in an iPad era, says Control4 president Glen Mella in an interview with CE Pro.
Control4 has never felt that the iPad would put an end to dedicated touchscreens from home-control vendors, Mella explains.
But, he says, “The iPad may spell the end of really expensive touchscreens. It’s hard to look at a customer with a straight face and tell them it [home automation touchscreen] is $6,000.” (Vantage was right!)
Control4 is a huge fan of the iPad, says Mella. “We were available with our Control4 My Home app on the day the iPad shipped. Frankly, we’re selling a lot of it.”
But in many circumstances, the InfinityEdge has the edge.
InfinityEdge Screen vs. iPad
Flash: The Control4 screens have one distinct advantage over the iPad when it comes to home control: native support for OS 2.0 and Flash.
“I don’t want to get into the whole Flash/non-Flash thing,” Mella says of iPad’s (non)support for the platform, “but our 2.0 release utilizes Flash for animation. Because the touchscreen leverages Flash, all of the 4Store apps can be exposed through the Infinity touchscreens, but today not through the iPad.
Free Control4 app: To use an iPad as a Control4 interface, you’ll need to fork out $99 for the Control4 My Home app.. Naturally, the Control4 OS is already built into the InfinityEdge.
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Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.