There has been a whole lot of hand-wringing in the smart home sector in the past month or so over whether the Swedish furniture giant IKEA would be bringing its jazzy new smart blinds to the U.S. market. The answer is “sort of.” But the good news is that at least one of the company’s new blinds products will be coming to the U.S., and will be available in IKEA stores and online as of April 1.
Now, we’ve known IKEA was moving into the smart home market for a while, thanks to the popularity and adaptability of its TRÅDFRI intelligent lighting range that now includes a wide variety of smart home products including LED bulbs, motion sensors, dimming kits, and so forth, all controlled by the lighting gateway and accompanying control app.
(By the way, IKEA brands all its products in ALL CAPS so if it sounds like we’re shouting, we’re not — just trying to respect cultural norms and keep world peace and stuff.)
There are two different blinds products in development, we think. On the company’s German website, there’s a blinds product called KADRILJ and another called FYRTUR and it looks like the European market will get both in another month or so, but the U.S. market is only getting the FYRTUR product, at least for now.
The blinds themselves are pretty cool and astonishingly user-friendly, especially compared to the divorce I almost earned building an IKEA bed with my wife. They are a fairly typical blackout blind with an opaque finish that will completely stop sun from coming in. We think the KADRILJ version is translucent.
The cool part is that you don’t have to plug the bloody things in, for once. FYRTUR blackout blinds come with a lithium-ion battery pack already integrated into the blinds. They can be recharged with a USB power brick, or you can simply buy additional power packs from IKEA if you’re not the patient sort.
Once the blinds are in place, owners can pair the device with an accompanying white control puck that can be used as a manual remote control. Smart home aficionados can also program the blinds to open and close at pre-designated times using the TRÅDFRI-friendly control app. Alexa, HomeKit and Google Assistant will all be available for voice control, since they all currently support the TRÅDFRI lighting gateway, control app, and its accompanying products.
There’s no official price on the FYRTUR blinds but based on some common-sense extrapolations of the prices listed in Germany, you can expect IKEA’s new smart blinds to come in somewhere around $150, give or take 20 or 30 bucks on either side. We’ll keep you posted.
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