hi) by Fenotek is a Smart Doorbell Powered by Android
Android is an extremely versatile operating system and is capable of being run on a wide range of hardware. We’re always interested in seeing Android being used to turn regular appliances into smart devices, though we still believe that some devices would be better off not hopping on the smart bandwagon just yet. Despite the tackiness and reservations many people may still have about the Internet of Things, companies are pouring billions of dollars into the connected dream. This year alone IoT saw a huge surge in popularity thanks to this year’s CES. Many companies flew their representatives over to Las Vegas to fill the halls of the convention center with promises of the upcoming IoT revolution, but we have yet to see many of these promises come to fruition.
Fenotek, however, is stepping up to the plate with their smart doorbell/butler called hi). Available for pre-order now on Indiegogo, the hi) doorbell allows you to greet visitors as well as record any detected motion from passersby. You can interact with the doorbell all from the comfort of your smartphone. Sound familiar? You might have heard of the smart doorbell called Ring in the past. To be honest, hi) is pretty similar to the Ring doorbell in terms of raw features. But what makes the hi) doorbell special is that it is actually running on a modified build of stock Android KitKat.
The hi) doorbell features a sleek and elegant profile that certainly makes the device stand out from its competition. It uses the standard doorbell power inputs to connect to your front door area, and it also offers two programmable dry contact outputs (110v-220v at up to 20W each) to allow for third-party hardware to be powered when the doorbell sends a signal. Besides that, the raw specifications are as follows:
- 720p HD H.264 encoded recordings with 150 degree wide angle recording. Uses IR lights to record at night.
- 20 x 6 x 5 cm in size. Easily installed by drilling 4 fixation holes.
- Microphone with noise cancellation
- 100m RF Chime
- IP65 water-resistance, suitable for outdoor usage in the rain. Operating temperatures between -22 and 120 degrees F.
- Requires 6-30 VDC or 8-30 VAC power supply wires from your existing doorbell. Also contains a reserve battery pack that lasts for up to 2 days that can be powered via solar if the electricity goes out.
- E-Ink screen for great outdoor visibility (nameplate can be customized)
- WiFi 2.4Ghz b/g/n to connect to the cloud, Bluetooth 4.0 LE for device detection
- Runs on a modified build of Android 4.4 KitKat. Board comes with a micro-USB connection port to allow for ADB access.
So the thing looks pretty, but what about security? Does it actually accomplish what it was made to do? According to the creators of hi), the doorbell is currently able to:
- Sound an Alarm if the device is detached from the wall (such a pretty device is bound to attract some unscrupulous attention). Fenotek will blacklist the device from their system.
- Detect motion between 0-5m, and send an alert with a live one-way video feed. Also can record said motion and store it in the cloud. Cloud storage requires a subscription fee ($5/month or $50/year) to store videos for one week, but the company promised to provide a way to upload to your personal cloud storage of choice.
- Two-way voice communication
- Standard RF Chime for when the Internet goes out
- I-Beacon (Bluetooth) Identification to trigger custom alerts and actions when a known user is in the vicinity. All you have to do is put your password in and you can unlock the door, for instance.
- Dry output connections allow for interaction with other electrical devices (eg. lights, fans).
- Up to 4 users can connect to the hi) at once via the smartphone app
- Connect to IFTTT and NEST as a connectivity hub
All of these features are accessible via the accompanying mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android. The app allows you to see notifications, pull an activity log, personalize your hi) device, see statistics, and trigger video recording immediately. You can get a glimpse of the hi’s features in action by browsing the video gallery on the Indiegogo campaign.
I saw the device in person at the company’s CES press event, and I was really impressed with the prototype that they showed to the media. The company’s engineering team are big fans of Android and modding, so I’m most excited about the ability to integrate this device with IFTTT. With IFTTT integration, you can literally integrate this doorbell with everything. IFTTT + Pushbullet or IFTTT + AutoRemote will allow you to make decisions with Tasker, and as we all know Tasker is an incredibly powerful controller for your IoT devices. We’ll have to wait and see for the device to actually start shipping to consumers before we can definitively decide whether or not hi) will be a hit, though.
Early adopters can lock in their purchase of the device for $249 on the Indiegogo page. The device will retail for $399 when it is launched in October of this year. Of course, as this is a crowdfunding campaign, its success depends entirely on the project meeting its Indiegogo goal of $50,000.
What do you think of this device? Interested in buying it? Let us know in the comments below!