Hi Velo Steve,
I have no authority whatsoever, but I’ve spent far too long reading over information so perhaps I can help here. I’m sure others can correct me if I’m wrong.
Are Android and iOS being treated as equals, or is one the lead platform with the other one lagging behind?
This is an excellent question, and I’m wondering too. Reading back over what the team posted, I started to suspect that the Android app might be lagging the iOS app somewhat, but I assume that both will be available when everything is first shipped.
What happens when my internet connection goes down? I have UPSs and a backup generator for power, but when the power is out, so is my internet provider (that’s life in rural California). Cell service can be flaky too, when the weather gets bad.
It’s my understanding that the Internet connection to the hub is only needed for external devices (e.g. the phone app) to talk to the hub and thereby control devices. Everything would “work” as designed without the Internet connection, unless things are set up to, say, send you an e-mail or a text message or the like–which wouldn’t make it out.
There was talk of adding in cellular connectivity, but the developers have said that that won’t happen with the first round of hardware. Maybe in the future, but presumably this would also come with a monthly fee.
What’s the range of the hub, and what can I do if one or more Things need to be farther away? I can extend my gigabit network there, but I don’t know if that will help.
I can cite the relevant answer from the FAQ here:
The SmartThings Hub incorporates two robust mesh networking technologies that are designed to provide a direct range of 150-300ft depending on a range of environmental factors. Beyond direct Hub-to-Thing range, the mesh networking capabilities will allow for individual connected Things to speak with the Hub through each other - extending range much further.
And also, you don't need to worry about extending your gigabit network to any of the Things, since they'll be using Zigbee or Z-Wave. The quotes I've heard on the range for an individual Zigbee or Z-Wave device vary, but the strength is that plug-in Things can act as repeaters and extend the range of everything.
Can a program on a computer on the local network talk directly to a Thing, or does it always have to go through the cloud?
My general understanding of how this architecture works is that your computer or smartphone will interact with the hub through the Internet. In turn, the hub will control all of the Things, communicating with them using Zigbee and Z-Wave. This kind of circles back to my answers above, so I hope that makes sense.