5 software developers who are leading the hardware revolution

Above: The Nest Protect smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

Building hardware is tough, rewarding, and immensely exciting for all those involved.

But it’s mostly tough. Even the most successful of hardware companies have struggled with the realities of producing physical products. Consider the issues that faced smartwatch maker Pebble, for instance, which took many extra months to get into customers’ hands, or Jawbone, which suspended production if its Up fitness band last year after widespread complaints from owners.

This has been said a billion times already, but it’s called hardware for a reason. It’s hard.

Still, while running hardware companies is rarely easy, a bunch of them are still doing pretty well. And some of these companies are run by people who have no formal expertise in hardware at all, which is as tough to pull off as you might expect.

Here are a few of the software guys helping to build the next batch of hardware giants.

Our upcoming DevBeat conference, Nov. 12-Nov. 13 in San Francisco, will have a lot more on hardware development. It’s a hands-on developer event packed with master classes, presentations, Q&As — and a hardware makeathon — all aimed at boosting your code skills, security knowledge, hardware hacking, and career development. Register now.

Matt Rogers: Helping Nest reinvent thermostats, smoke alarms, and perhaps everything else

More information:

The creator of the world’s first learning thermostat, Nest Labs is focused on reducing home-energy consumption. The Nest Learning Thermostat learns about you and your home to automatically turn itself down when you're away, guide you... read more »

Dropcam is revolutionizing the way people stay connected to the places they care about. With the Dropcam and Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi video monitoring cameras and optional Cloud Recording (CVR) service, you can remotely drop in on your house,... read more »

Fitbit inspires people to exercise more, eat better, and live healthier lifestyles. The ultra-compact Fitbit device automatically tracks data about a person’s activities, such as calories burned, sleep quality, steps, and distan... read more »

Oculus VR™ was founded by Palmer Luckey, self-described virtual reality enthusiast and hardware geek. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development of their first product, the Oculus Rift, a ground-breaking vir... read more »

Canary, a home security device roughly the size of a 24-ounce beer can, monitors motion, temperature, humidity, air quality, and noise. It sends alerts and video footage to a user’s smartphone when it detects something unusual. Ca... read more »

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