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Mother review: This smart-home hub makes promises the Internet of Things can't deliver

Michelle Mastin | Dec. 17, 2014
Mother and the Motion Cookies was one of the most talked-about products at last January's CES. No one could quite figure out what it was or what it was supposed to do. Now that she's taken up residence in my home, I'm still not entirely sure what Mother is good for. But I kinda like her and her cookies.

Once you've selected the type of machine you've attached the cookie to, you enter how many pods you have left and the app will track your average daily consumption to let you know when you're running low. It sent me a nice email just in time. 

You can also choose to receive warnings if you're drinking coffee too late at night, but there's no way for Mother to know if you're having a decaf or a hot chocolate after dinner.

Step counting worked well until I forgot to take the Motion Cookie I'd assigned to the task out my pocket before I put the garment in the washing machine. The Cookies are't waterproof, but this one survived its ordeal (its non-rechargeable CR2016 button battery did not).Temperature tracking worked as advertised.

Using a Motion Cookie to monitor a door can only report if the door is moving. That's good to know if the door opens when you don't expect it to, especially if you're away from home, or if you're using it to monitor the door to your liquor or medicine cabinet. But it can't report that the door was left open. 

The toothbrush tracking app shows up in a lot of Mother's advertising, but I have an electric toothbrush which means I don't scrub back and forth in the same way as a manual, so sadly Mother can't nag me about the state of my teeth. Other much-hyped apps, such as the one that tracks how much water you drink and another that can track your fridge habits, are "coming soon."

I configured the Pocket Mother app on my smartphone to alert me of certain activities, such as door movement. Yet, every single time I tapped on a notification, I got a page-not-found error. Once I closed the alert, the app worked fine.

Should you invite Mother for a stay?

Mother is intriguing — at first. I was really into it at the beginning and was prepared to give this review four stars. But Mother's novelty wore off after about two weeks, and I stopped checking in with Pocket Mother.

Mother needs Wi-Fi connectivity, so that you can keep her in a central area of your home, and Sense needs to offer more — and more useful — apps. Being able to track just four Motion Cookies is limiting, and it's very expensive to buy additional sensors. There's a lot of potential here,. I'm not convinced Mother justifies her $299 price tag.


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