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Wink adds touchscreen-based home automation hub

Sep 23, 2014 — by Eric Brown 10,502 views

Wink announced Relay, an Android-based smart light switch and home automation hub featuring a 4.3-inch touchscreen, proximity sensors, and voice messaging.

Wink Hub
(click to enlarge)

Back in June, Quirky subsidiary Wink launched its Linux-based Wink home automation hub and free Android and iOS mobile app, together with 15 partners and 60 compatible devices. The app can control supported devices with WiFi radios, whereas the $49 Hub also supports devices that use ZigBee, Z-Wave, or proprietary wireless protocols.


Now, Wink users have a third option. The new “Relay” touchscreen controller offers all the features of the Hub and app while also providing a “smart” replacement for a light switch. Wink has opened pre-orders for the Relay unit for $300, with shipments due by late November.

Wink Relay: front and edge views; installation
(click images to enlarge)

While Wink and other many other smart gizmo vendors have been touting the convenience of controlling your home’s smart devices with your handy smartphone or tablet, the message for the Relay is the opposite: Having a home automation system “doesn’t mean you should have to see your work email when you lock your door,” stated Brett Worthington, VP/GM of Wink. “Relay allows you to have control of your home without having to look at your phone.”

Wink’s home automation ecosystem
(click image to enlarge)

The Relay runs a version of Android on an unstated processor, and duplicates the Wink Android app on its 4.3-inch multi-touch display. Wink lists only WiFi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee as supported protocols, with no mention of Z-Wave or other wireless radios. However, Wink suggests the Relay replaces all features of the Hub, stating that “Relay will automatically connect with all Wink App Ready products, from light bulbs to garage door openers, as well as Wink App Compatible products that use the Wink Hub to connect.” The company also says that Relay supports 100 products from 15 trusted brands that already work with Wink.

Wink Relay’s built-in user interface
(click images to enlarge)

The 6.56 x 5.88 x 1.25-inch (16.66 x 14.94 x 3.18mm) Relay device replaces single- or double-gang boxes that offer a neutral electric wire, but are not wired to an AC outlet. It ships comes with its own power box, and can be installed by DIYers who know how to use a wire stripper, although professional installation is said to be recommended. Two mechanical buttons act as replacement light switches, and support smart bulbs. The switches can also be programmed to operate other smart home products.

Another improvement over the original Hub and app is the integration of infrared proximity sensors, as well as temperature, humidity, sound, and motion sensors. When a user comes near, the IR sensor triggers the display to light up and show temperature and humidity readings. The device also supports notification sounds with the help of a built-in mic and speaker system, and via future OTA updates, will soon enable voice messaging. Other future updates will help Relay’s sensors recognize individual users and respond to personal settings.

Wink updates app

In conjunction with the Relay announcement, Wink announced updates to its mobile app with a new home screen, a new dashboard, and new lighting controls that make it easier to control groups of lights, says the company. Based on user demand, Wink has enhanced its Robots and Shortcuts functions. Now, when Relay launches, the app shows an overview of how all products interact

Wink mobile app’s updated user interface
(click images to enlarge)

Finally, Wink announced that several new smart device brands will be supported soon, including Gilmour, Linear LLC (a division of Nortek), and Google’s Nest Labs. This brings the total to at least 18 vendors, comprising one of the largest supported smart device ecosystems, although perhaps not as large as that of SmartThings, which was recently acquired by Samsung.

Introducing Wink Relay
(source: Wink)

Further information

Wink’s Relay is available for pre-order for $300 at, with shipments due by the end of November. Like the Wink Hub, the Relay will also be on sale at The Home Depot this holiday season. More information may be found at the Wink Relay product page.

(advertise here)

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4 responses to “Wink adds touchscreen-based home automation hub”

  1. len morris says:

    love your product..
    after watching the video I was wondering what do you do if you want to install the Wink relay to a switch that is a double switch box (two light switches).

    I have nowhere where I have a one switch box that would work for me, it needs to go in a double switch box.


  2. MisterFixIt1952 says:

    Wonderful! Just what we need is another $300 light switch. When will they start manufacturing a smart switch that is affordable. Putting in $35-$70 switches in a house with, say 10-20 switches can cost hundreds of dollars. That makes as much sense as $50-60 light bulbs. When is this smart stuff going to be a smart buy?

  3. MisterFixIt1952 says:

    In this day of $50 Chinese Android tablets, why do controllers like this need to cost so much? I already laid out money for a Wink hub and now, just 1 month later I find out it’s already old news. Some of us “regular people”, without deep pockets, would also like to have smart homes also. I have been chasing the smart home dream for over 15 years from X-10 up until now. I keep seeing the cost going up and up until only Bill Gates and friends get to have smart homes. I am currently rewiring my 1909 craftsman home and I have been unable to find reasonably priced products to enable me to incorporate smart wiring into the design that will not cost a fortune. Now I see this great controller that only costs $300/room to install. Wonderful! I’m now down to designing and building my own lighting controllers using arduino and/or raspPi. Of course they are not UL approved so getting them past the electrical inspector will take some stealth and planning.

    • Tony says:

      try the spark photon or spark core. Its a arduino with wifi capabilities that fit the size of a coin. Best part? its 20$. + a 5$ relay = smart switch

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