Apple named as potential buyer of home automation startup R2 Studios

By , Dec 20, 2012

r2 android app

This is pretty interesting. The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon that id8 Group R2 Studios, a home automation startup founded by Slingbox’s Blake Krikorian, is in talks to be acquired. Not much is known about the company outside of its Crestron remote control app, but there are reportedly some big names participating in the buyout talks, including Apple…

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“A secretive startup founded by the man who popularized the Slingbox has been in talks with companies considering buying it, people close to the company say, with Microsoft Corp., MSFT +1.35%Google Inc. GOOG +0.31% and Apple Inc.AAPL -0.87% cited as participants.

The startup, id8 Group R2 Studios Inc., was created in May 2011 by entrepreneur Blake Krikorian. He founded Sling Media Inc., maker of the Slingbox for watching TV on computers, and sold it to EchoStarSATS +0.53% in 2007.

R2 Studios, which is developing home-media and automation technology, has remained largely mum about its plans but last year released an app that turns Android phones into touch panels for controlling heating and lighting systems wirelessly. R2 Studios also holds some patents related to controlling electronic devices and interfaces.”

As AppleInsider points out, Apple has filed multiple patents regarding home automation, including one this year that depicts an iOS device controlling DVR cable boxes and other appliances. So it’s possible they could be interested in what R2 is working on. It’s also worth noting that Apple’s stores have recently started carrying home control products like the Nest and the Philips Hue.

R2 Studio’s Android app, R2, is essentially a control panel for your Crestron system. Crestron, for those who aren’t familiar with it, manufactures systems for home automation and audio/video control, and R2 allows you to control that system from your smartphone or tablet. It seems like pretty standard stuff really, controlling your lights and what not with your mobile device. But who knows what else the company is working on.

Of course, it’s also possible that Apple could just be interested in R2 Studios for its patents. The WSJ report does say that the startup has some IP related to controlling electronic devices and interfaces. And we all know how important patents are in this day and age. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see where this talk ends up.

What do you think?

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