Nest Halts Sales of ‘Protect’ Smoke Alarm Over Safety Concerns


Like Nests’s futuristic thermostat, its iPhone-controlled smoke/carbon monoxide detector looked like the perfect replacement for the antiquated systems used in most homes today. It turns out that the Nest Protect was a little too good to be true.

Since the device went on sale in November of last year, Nest has discovered that one of the Protect’s hallmark features can malfunction. And that happens to create big safety concerns. Until the issue is resolved, Nest Protect sales have halted.

One of the marquee features in the Nest Protect, called Wave, allows you to do a wave gesture under the Protect to manually turn off an alarm. Smoke detectors can go off all the time by accident, so it’s a great idea that is one of Nest’s main selling points.

“During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated,” said Nest CEO Tony Fadell today in a letter to customers. “This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire.”

Although Nest hasn’t confirmed that the problem has affected any customers, it has decided to cease sales of the Nest Protect until it is fixed. A software update that disables Wave is available for existing users to install over WiFi through a Nest Account. Any customers without access to WiFi in their homes can contact Nest to receive a full refund.

Because it takes awhile to test bugs like this and then have updates approved by safety agencies in multiple countries, Fadell says not to expect a software update with the fix for at least a few months.

Google recently bought Nest for $3.2 billion. Tony Fadell is a former executive at Apple who is considered the father of the iPod.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a journalist and co-host of The CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky. If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Follow him on Twitter.

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