Microsoft Unveils GLAS, a Beautiful New Smart Thermostat

They could have picked anything. Microsoft could have made an intelligent toaster, a toothpaste dispenser, or even a smart cat toy. But as with many tech companies, the software giant has decided to make a thermostat. It seems like an unoriginal foray into smart home technology, until you actually see this thing. As the name somewhat gives away, GLAS is largely translucent. Powered by Cortana, it’s probably the smartest, prettiest thing Microsoft has ever created.

– GLAS thermostat revealed in impressive YouTube promo

– Translucent touchscreen displays temperature, energy usage and air quality

– Comes with Cortana voice assistant and motion sensors

New Smart Thermostat

We like smart home technology here at the Gadget Flow. Anything that reduces the number of chores in each day can only be good news. Controlling the temperature of your home seems like a small thing, but every little helps.

Of course, Microsoft is lagging years behind the pioneers of this technology. But GLAS is most certainly a unique take on the smart thermostat idea.

new smart thermostat 7

Much of the difference is visual. You can’t miss that translucent touchscreen, which looks like a heads-up display on your wall. This allows you to check the temperature setting or study your energy usage. GLAS also tracks indoor and outdoor air quality, with the data posted on the screen.

new smart thermostat 2

Using this slick touchscreen interface isn’t strictly necessary. That’s because this smart thermostat is powered by Cortana, Microsoft’s very own voice assistant. When you want to adjust the temperature, you simply ask GLAS.

Once again, the idea is not completely new — the ecobee4 is equipped with Amazon’s rival assistant, Alexa. That said, each of these intelligent systems has its own strengths and weaknesses.

new smart thermostat 3

Clever All Over

Along with hearing your commands, GLAS can sense your presence. When you return home after a freezing day at work, the thermostat will fire up the heat. In addition, GLAS is designed to help save you money. By reacting to your presence and learning your habits, the thermostat should be able to reduce your energy bills.

While the unveiling of a thermostat was unexpected, Microsoft did make clear its ambitions last year. This device is probably the first in a long line of upcoming products with Cortana integration.

new smart thermostat 4

The promo video above suggests GLAS will be useful at home and at work. There have been some suggestions that the thermostat is designed for the workplace only, given that it will rely on the business-focused Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Whether these rumors are accurate remains to be seen.

Little else is known about the product, which has been produced by Johnson Controls. Apart from the video above, Microsoft is yet to announce any further smart thermostat 6

“Heating and cooling account for roughly 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most families. In the commercial building sector, the cost is approximately 40%.”

”As the inventors of the first thermostat, Johnson Controls has innovated once again with GLAS. Utilizing Windows 10 IoT Core, Cortana voice services, and Azure Cloud, GLAS is a simple to use, elegant thermostat that brings leading energy savings and air quality monitoring to everyday spaces. Johnson Controls is reinventing the thermostat and our lives.” — Microsoft on Youtube

new smart thermostat 1

What We ❤️

Beauty and intelligence is an attractive cocktail.

Room for Improvement

At this stage, any failings are yet to be seen!


No word from Microsoft on price or availability, but expect an announcement soon.

What are your first impressions of Microsoft’s thermostat? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.


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