Lockitron Announces The $99 Bolt, A Deadbolt You Can Unlock With Your Phone

Lockitron Bolt

Y Combinator alum Lockitron is today launching the Bolt, a $99 follow-up to its troubled crowdfunded keyless-entry gadget.

Lockitron co-founder Cameron Robertson says the company learned a lot from the difficulties it went through with its last release. Rather than use approximately 40 discrete components (many of which had to be custom-designed) the team sourced high-quality parts off-the-shelf, reducing failure rates and costs (the original went for $179) as well as the footprint of the lock.

The team also decided to go back to their original design of replacing the deadbolt altogether (while still letting you use your old keys as a backup) rather than trying to build a universal gadget that could fit over most deadbolts. As it turns out, there’s an absolutely huge variety of locks out there, and while their solution was in fact a “slot-in” solution for many, others found that the 20-minute setup time the company promised was really something like an hour.

Robertson and the team were convinced they could make something with a slightly more complex setup and still do well by the example of Nest. “Basically, as long as we could break the setup down into 20 tiny, doable steps, it didn’t really matter that it required removing the old deadbolt,” Robertson told me last week.

The Bolt can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth LE, letting you unlock your door as you walk up to your house or apartment with an app on your phone. The app also has a number of features for power users who pick up Lockitron’s $49 Wi-Fi adapter, which you connect to your PC or router in order to send data to the Bolt over Bluetooth as well. That lets you reach it from anywhere, so you can open the door for guests who arrive at your home while you’re still at work.

You can also use email or SMS to give access to a particular lock, so your friends and family can always get in without needing a key. Have a babysitter or a cleaner who comes by regularly? You’ll soon be able to give permission to individuals for specific portions of the day.