Belkin’s popular line of WeMo smart home products was recently brought into the HomeKit fold with the release of the new Smart Bridge, a simple device that lets you control your existing WeMo devices via the Home app and Siri. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Taiwanese hardware manufacturer Foxconn, which is contracted by Apple to make its iPhones, has agreed to acquire accessory firm Belkin and its associated brands, Linksys, and Wemo for $ 866 million in cash, by way of a merger. That’s a huge move for Foxconn as this is the first time in its 44 years of existence that it’s venturing into owning and operating consumer-facing brands. The plan with its new buy is to grow into a smart home gadgets powerhouse, and it seems like a natural progression for the three brands it’s now acquired. California-based Belkin has been in the business…
Foxconn, known primarily for assembling iPhones and various other products for Apple, today announced that it has acquired Belkin. The latter is primarily known for its high-quality iPhone and MacBook accessories. However, Belkin also own two other popular brands: Linksys and Wemo. Continue reading → iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog
The Taiwanese company known best for manufacturing iPhones, Foxconn, will soon be the company behind some of the best known routers and other computer accessories. A subsidiary of Foxconn, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, announced today that it would acquire Belkin, which also owns the brands Linksys and Wemo.
Belkin, based in California, has been around for 35 years and is known today for creating an array of computer and phone accessories, including wireless chargers, laptop docks, and phone cases. Belkin purchased Linksys, which is well known for its home routers, in 2013. And it’s been running a smart home system called Wemo for more than five years now.
For years, Taiwan-based Foxconn has been best-known for manufacturing Apple products, but it also builds countless other consumer electronics. Today, one of the company’s subsidiaries (Foxconn Interconnect Technology) announced it is purchasing US-based Belkin for $ 866 million in cash. Belkin owns a number of major brands, including Linksys and Wemo.
The buyout would make Foxconn a major player in consumer electronics, instead of just a contract manufacturing company. Belkin primarily sells phone/tablet accessories, but also manufactures networking equipment like routers and Wi-Fi range extenders.
Foxconn is best known as an Apple supplier that assembles Apple’s devices and supplies components to the Cupertino-based company, but as of today, it’s taking over a major Apple accessory maker.
Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT), a Foxconn subsidiary, today announced that it has acquired Belkin International in a deal that’s worth $866 million. The acquisition includes the Belkin brand along with Linksys, Wemo, and Phyn, other companies owned by Belkin.
One of Belkin’s recently introduced wireless charging accessories
The acquisition will allow Foxconn Interconnect Technology to “further tap into premium accessories and the smart home market.” The deal is also expected to expand Belkin’s presence both in the United States and “key markets globally.”
“FIT is excited to acquire Belkin and its capabilities in the premium consumer products space,” said Sidney Lu, CEO, FIT. “Integrating Belkin’s best-in-class capabilities and solutions into FIT, we expect to enrich our portfolio of premium consumer products and accelerate our penetration into the smart home.”
“This move will accelerate our vision of delivering technology that makes the lives of people around the world better, more convenient and more fulfilling. I am thrilled to take our brand portfolio of Belkin, Linksys, Wemo and Phyn to new heights,” said Chet Pipkin, CEO and founder, Belkin International. “We see significant synergies with FIT, including leveraging its world-class manufacturing capability to enhance Belkin’s operating efficiency and competitiveness. The transaction also grants us access to more resources to invest in our people and to aggressively pursue opportunities in the marketplace.”
Under the Belkin brand, Belkin offers a wide range of iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch cases, cables, adapters, wireless chargers, and more, while the Wemo brand offers HomeKit-compatible home automation devices. Through Linksys, Belkin sells wireless routers and similar accessories, and the Phyn brand offers a smart water assistant for monitoring for leaks.
All of the Belkin-owned brands will continue to operate as subsidiaries under Foxconn Interconnect Technology.
A subsidiary of longtime Apple supply partner Foxconn on Monday announced the acquisition of popular accessory maker Belkin, which also owns Linksys, Phyn and Wemo brands, for approximately $ 866 million. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Announced last May, Belkin finally delivered its WeMo Bridge eight months later. This $ 39.99 device does one thing and one thing only: It brings Apple HomeKit support to WeMo switches and plugs. I bought the Bridge as soon as it was available, and it works as advertised.
Since it doesn’t do much, the WeMo Bridge is fairly small. It’s roughly a two-inch square that’s about a half-inch tall. In fact, it reminds me of shrunken down Apple TV although it’s white, not black. There’s a small LED on the top but that’s only used for setup purposes and isn’t illuminated after that. You don’t have to worry about seeing that light in the middle of the night like you do for some other smart home products.
On the back are two ports: one is an Ethernet jack and the other is a micro-USB. Yes, you have to physically connect the WeMo Bridge to your network’s router or switch (if you have one) with the included Ethernet cable. The micro-USB port is used to power the WeMo Bridge.
These two ports are part of the reason that I’m personally not a fan of bridge devices. I’d rather use a wireless connection instead of needing an empty network port on my router for a device like this. In fact, my router only has one Ethernet port, so in my case, I either need to buy a switch or have another device give up that precious jack. I’m not inclined to do the latter because I like having a hardwired connection from my router to my television set top box (the Nvidia Shield TV) for maximum throughput to stream 4K content. But that’s just me: You may have a network switch to use or one more empty Ethernet jack on your router.
Once connected to a network and powered up, the WeMo Bridge is easy to set up. You simply go into the WeMo app and choose to add a new device, picking the Bridge from the various options.
Doing so will open the Home app on your iOS device and from there, you scan the unique HomeKit code on the bottom of the WeMo Bridge. Choose a room for your Bridge and that’s essentially it. The Home app will now show your Bridge as well as any other WeMo devices you already have. The whole process took me all of three minutes.
After I ran through the setup, I immediately asked Siri on my iPhone to turn on my Bedroom light, which runs on an old WeMo Insight Switch. The light turned on immediately, without any lag. That’s one very positive observation I have about HomeKit devices: They react nearly instantaneously.
But it’s disappointing — to me, anyway — that Apple didn’t nail down its HomeKit requirements relatively quickly. It’s that very reason that single-purpose devices like the WeMo Bridge even exist. When Apple announced HomeKit in 2014, it decided to include a hardware requirement that all HomeKit device partners needed to use. From my discussion with some of those partners, that requirement changed along the way, causing device makers to adjust their products on the fly. And last year, Apple announced it wouldn’t require a certified chip in all of its HomeKit products so that companies could use software for the security requirement.
All of that added up to uncertainty for companies like Belkin and others who often iterate their products once a year. From Belkin’s perspective, I think it was wise to just wait HomeKit out and keep adding new smart switches and outlets to its product line. The company knew that a single bridge could add HomeKit in the future, hence reason the WeMo Bridge was made.
If you have a bunch of WeMo products (not WeMo bulbs though, as those aren’t supported by the Bridge) as well as other HomeKit devices in your iOS household and you rely solely on Siri for your smart home, the WeMo Bridge is a great addition. It’s easy to set up, works well for its one single purpose and isn’t too expensive. Just be sure you have an extra outlet near your router, switch or access point, along with an open Ethernet port.
Of course, if you already control your WeMo devices through another hub that supports scenes and Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice control, WeMo’s Bridge isn’t necessary. It all depends on if you want to give Siri the smarts to control your existing WeMo plugs and switches.
Looking for a fast and easy way to control your Wemo smart accessories using HomeKit and the Home app? Belkin has the answer with its new Smart Bridge, which now features compatibility with Apple’s smart home platform. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
With a couple of months of use behind me, my feelings about the Belkin WeMo switches are just as conflicted now as they were when I unpacked these. On paper, the idea of a switch that you can plug anything in to make it smart is fantastic. In reality, I struggled to find many, if any honestly, devices I wanted to use the WeMo with. But that’s not even the meat of my issue with WeMo’s switches.