Joining Apigy's Lockitron, the Kevo represents another attempt to link door-entry management to your smartphone.
The core technology behind Kevo comes from a company called UniKey, which was featured last year on ABC's startup competition show "Shark Tank." The idea is that a UniKey-powered door lock allows you to open the lock simply by touching it when you're carrying a UniKey-enabled smartphone or an included key fob. The technology also lets you assign access to others who have a UniKey-compatible smartphone.
The Kevo lock bearing the UniKey technology will come to market through a partnership with U.S. door hardware makers Kwikset and Weiser. When Kevo launches, it will only work on the iOS-based products with BlueTooth Smart Ready capability, currently the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch, the current-generation iPad, and the iPad Mini. UniKey says that it anticipates support for Android and other devices in the unspecified future.
The differences between Lockitron and UniKey/Kevo are substantial, despite their similar-sounding concepts. UniKey technology is embedded in a familiar-looking tumbler lock, while Apigy's Lockitron device is an accessory that attaches to an interior deadbolt lever. Both devices allow you to grant access to other users, but Lockitron allows you to use your smartphone to lock or unlock a door remotely via smartphone. UniKey locks do not yet offer this feature. Lockitron is also compatible with any smartphone, as well as any older phone that can send a text message.
We also know that Lockitron is currently available for preorder for $179 and summer market debut. The suggested retail price for the UniKey has been reported around $149 to $199, but neither the final price nor the ship date of the Kevo has been confirmed by Kwikset or Weiser. We will report back as more information becomes available.