Nest Labs quickly became a darling of both the sustainability and tech worlds for its sleek, Internet-connected thermostat and smoke detector designed to provide customers with energy savings and safety. But has the sheen finally worn off on the Palo-Alto based company, acquired by Google earlier this year?
Nest announced yesterday that it is halting sales of its Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors due potential safety concerns and will refund customers who want to return their current devices. Meanwhile, the company was hit with a class action lawsuit in late March, charging that Nest’s Learning Thermostat fails to accurately measure and control a home’s temperature.
Nest’s “smart” smoke detector allowed users to turn off their alarm with a wave of their hand – a useful feature when the smoke alarm sounds not from a fire, but because you burned toast or made a particularly smoky stir-fry. But during recent lab tests, Nest employees discovered that the Nest Wave feature could be unintentionally activated under a “unique combination of circumstances,” meaning the alarm wouldn’t be able to go off if there was an actual emergency, Nest CEO Tony Fadell wrote in a letter on the company’s website. While the company isn’t aware of any cases of this design flaw occurring in real life, it decided to disable the Wave feature on all Protect alarms currently in use – something Nest is able to do remotely because the devices are connected to a company account and wireless Internet.
Because all Protect systems have the Nest Wave feature, the company decided to stop selling its smoke alarm until it resolves the issue, Fadell said in his letter. Fadell expects it will take at least two or three months before the company has fixed the Wave feature to operate as intended, carried out extensive testing, and obtained approval from safety agencies in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. At that point, Nest will turn the Wave feature back on for its current Protect customers and resume sales of the device. In the mean time, the company’s website will provide updates on its progress, Fadell wrote.
Though the Protect alarm will continue to monitor a home’s smoke and carbon monoxide levels without the Wave feature, customers who want to return their system – which retails for approximately $130 – will receive a full refund, Fadell wrote.
“We’re enormously sorry for the inconvenience caused by this issue,” Fadell wrote. Read more… http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/04/nest-freezes-sales-smoke-alarm-sued-thermostats-energy-savings-claims/