Wink’s smart home hub gets some key upgrades for its second generation

The smart home has come a long way in the two-plus years since the original Wink Hub was launched as a spinoff of New York-based hardware crowdsourcer, Quirky. Among other things, a number of major players like Amazon, Google and Apple have stepped up their attempts to provide a central ecosystem for the increasingly populated world of connected home devices.

But while the competition has gotten a heck of a lot stiffer, Wink’s already got a full generation and a little added distance under its belt. And while the hardware startup’s decently reviewed debut device had a lot of room for improvement, it’s a solid foundation for tackling what still feels a bit like the wild west of home automation.

Announced this morning, the company’s second generation product brings some key advances to the device, focused primarily on setup and connectivity. The Wink 2.0 is designed to work better straight out of the box, with Wink’s newly updated version 5.0 automatically detecting the hub upon setup. It’s also streamlined the transfer process for those upgrading from the last-gen, with automatic transfers of devices and settings to the new model.

The new hub, which is 25-percent slimmer than its predecessor, now features an Ethernet port and improved WiFi connectivity, with support for both 2.4 and 5GHz networks. It also supports a whole bunch of different wireless protocols, including, in handy alphabetical order: Bluetooth Low Energy, Kidde, Lutron Clear Connect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and ZigBee.

Wink 2

The new model is a bit pricier than its predecessor at launch, but at $99, it’s not exactly expensive. It’s set to hit retail late next month. Version 1, meanwhile, will stick around for a bit as well, now priced at $69.