Hubs aren’t dead yet. Wink — the brand initially launched as an app for GE + Quirky products — unveiled the second edition of its hub today. With a slimmer design and a faster processor, the Wink Hub 2 also has more memory and locally stored automations for quicker smart home reactions.
Available starting in late October at Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon and on Wink’s site, the Wink Hub 2 will sell for $100 (£75 or AU$130 converted). If you’d rather, you can still buy the original Wink Hub for $70 (or about £120 in the UK), and I’m glad to hear the company isn’t phasing it out.
Second-gen home hubs don’t have a good track record. The Lowe’s Iris smart home system ran into glitches — and angry customers — when it pushed everyone from its first-gen system to its second. Wink will let customers make the transition when they’re ready, though the updated app that coincides with the new hub will have a tool to help you make the shift if you’re already invested in the Wink system.
The second SmartThings hub also disappointed with its confusing app and performance issues. With its primary competitors faltering, Wink could seize control of the hub market if its second hub avoids similar issues — if there’s any hub market remaining. The idea of controlling a smart home from a single platform is still enticing, but Apple, Google and Amazon are all making plays to do just that without a hub.
Still, the Wink Hub 2 is checking the right boxes. It includes antennas to respond to just about any smart home device.
- Wi-Fi radio that supports 2.4 and 5GHz networks
- Ethernet port
- Bluetooth Low Energy radio
- Thread radio
- Support for Kidde
- Support for Lutron Clear Connect
- Z-Wave antenna
- Zigbee antenna
The Hub will also store schedules and product-to-product triggers you create on its hard drive, which will hopefully make your smart home more responsive. We’ll see if that’s enough to help Wink stand with tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple as the race for smart home control heats up.