June 17, 2014
Nest Smoke Detector Returns With A More Affordable Price
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Sales of Nest's smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were put on hold in April, but this week were back on sale at a new lower $99 price. The Google-owned company announced early Tuesday that the Nest Protect Wi-Fi-based smoke and carbon monoxide detector was back on the market.
Sales of the devices were halted over concerns with a feature that could enable users to silence the alarm and actually keep it from doing its job properly. At the time, existing Nest customers were told they could continue to use the device if the Nest Wave feature was disabled.
Nest hasn't been able to completely remedy this problem, and while a solution is still being sought, the Nest Wave feature has been disabled on the units that returned to sale. Customers can still quiet an alarm by pushing a button, but the motion-activation functionality has been turned off.
Those customers that didn't return the product or may have missed the notice shouldn't worry. After the April 3 recall Nest issued an over-the-air update that disabled the feature in existing units. Customers were also allowed to return the Nest Protect for a full refund.
The company announced it will continue to look for a solution. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the problem with Nest products affected some 440,000 devices, including alarms Nest had sold as well as those still on store shelves.
"Consumers whose Nest Protect devices are connected to their wireless network and linked to a Nest account should immediately confirm the receipt of an automatic repair that disabled the Nest Wave feature by going to Nest Sense on their Nest account mobile or web application and ensuring that the button for Nest Wave is set to 'off' and grayed out. No further action is required and consumers can continue to use their devices," the CPSC reported.
Apart from the one rather serious design flaw, the Nest Protect has been widely praised.
"Even without Nest Wave, the Protect still offers a unique feature set that’s unmatched in the space," wrote Matt Burns for TechCrunch. "The Protect sits in-between dumb smoke detectors and connected detectors monitored by a third-party service. The Protect can notify a smartphone when your house is on fire but not call the fire department. At its launch, Nest bragged about the so-called Nest Wave feature that allowed owners to silence notifications by simply waving their hand under the beeping alarm. That feature was novel, but currently a moot selling point as it’s still disabled."
In addition to returning the product to market, Nest also released a white paper based on anonymous data from its customers in the United States, Canada and Britain that revealed that 0.15 percent of homes with alarms installed had experienced a carbon monoxide alert between November 2013 and May 2014, The New York Times reported.
The length of the carbon monoxide events ranged from three minutes to more than 24 hours, while the median alert time was one hour and 17 minutes. Nest estimated that at least one million households in the regions where its data was gathered are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide each year.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, toxic gas produced by furnaces, stoves and water heaters that can cause serious health problems and death in homes with poor ventilation.