Nest restarts Protect smoke alarm sales after safety recall, cuts price and offending feature

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2014
Google-owned smart home device maker Nest on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of its Protect carbon monoxide and smoke alarm after product sales were halted and units recalled when a convenience feature was determined to pose a safety risk.



Some two months after Nest first took the Protect CO + Smoke Alarm off the market in April, the device is once again on store shelves with a hefty price reduction from $130 to $99 and crippled feature set, reports The New York Times.

At the heart of Protect's woes is a convenience function called "Nest Wave," which allowed owners to turn off the alarm with a wave of the hand. In May, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of 440,000 affected Protect units after finding the wave feature could be inadvertently activated, which would delay an alert in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.

At the time of the recall Nest said it expected to get the product back on store shelves "in a few weeks" with the Nest Wave function reinstated. Apparently the company could not find a suitable solution in time, but promises the capability will be reactivated once the problem is fixed.

Since Nest's devices connect to the Internet for added functionality like push alerts and alarm tracking, the firm has been able to update most Protect devices to disable the possibly dangerous feature.

Nest is the brainchild of former Apple executive and "godfather of the iPod" Tony Fadell, who recently sold his company to Google for $3.2 billion. When the acquisition was announced, Google said Nest Labs would continue to operate as a largely independent firm, allaying fears that it would use the connected smart home devices to collect user information for its targeted ad business.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,331member
    It's encouraging to see how well Nest tests its "features" especially for such a critical device like a smoke alarm. Also encouraging is how they just decided to scrap the feature and drop the price, instead of doing the hard work of solving the problem.

    [/s if it wasnt completely obvious. Can't believe how many people were up in arms that Apple didn't buy this 1 trick pony company. Still don't know a single person with a Nest product. Apparently, making something look like an Apple product is not a guarantee for success. ]
  • Reply 2 of 41
    AppleInsider says $90. The original story on the NY Times blog say $99. Amazon says "Duh! What's a Nest Protect?"

    Frustrating.
  • Reply 3 of 41

    Official price is $99.

  • Reply 4 of 41
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    <div align="center">Google-owned
    400

    <div align="center">700</div>
  • Reply 5 of 41
    Since Nest's devices connect to the Internet for added functionality like push advertising [S]alerts and alarm[/S] and conversation tracking, the firm has been able to update most Protect devices to disable the possibly dangerous feature.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    slurpy wrote: »
    It's encouraging to see how well Nest tests its "features" especially for such a critical device like a smoke alarm. Also encouraging is how they just decided to scrap the feature and drop the price, instead of doing the hard work of solving the problem.

    [/s if it wasnt completely obvious. Can't believe how many people were up in arms that Apple didn't buy this 1 trick pony company. Still don't know a single person with a Nest product. Apparently, making something look like an Apple product is not a guarantee for success. ]
    And yet prior to the Google acquisition this product was featured heavily in Apple's B&M and online stores. I'd argue that Beats is a one trick pony too - selling overpriced crappy plastic headphones.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    It's encouraging to see how well Nest tests its "features" especially for such a critical device like a smoke alarm. Also encouraging is how they just decided to scrap the feature and drop the price, instead of doing the hard work of solving the problem.

     

     

    It is one thing to test features and functions to ensure they work when they are supposed to - it is much harder to test to ensure that no features is inadvertently triggered - especially one that detects motion at a distance as opposed to detectors inside the body of the device. 

     

    Of course there are plenty of examples of systems failing because they were only designed to measure what was expected such as Three Mile Island where a sensor designed to register within the expect range gave no reading at all when things got out of range with no indication as to weather the out of range condition was lower or higher than the expected range. 

     

    Aww, why not let Google ads collect info from this, just imagine, you are on browsing the web from a hotel room after your house burned down and up pop ads for contraction companies, or those guys who clean up after fires and floods, and after the carbon monoxide detector is triggered for more than a certain amount of time then you get ads for funeral home services and cemeteries. :D

  • Reply 8 of 41
    fithianfithian Posts: 82member
    So, what happens to the one I own? The wave feature has been disabled by the software. Is what I have now the same as the updated one without the wave feature, which is selling for $30 less than the price I paid. Seems like I am due a check for $30.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,454member
    fithian wrote: »
    So, what happens to the one I own? The wave feature has been disabled by the software. Is what I have now the same as the updated one without the wave feature, which is selling for $30 less than the price I paid. Seems like I am due a check for $30.

    Same here ...

    The real reason for all this was it was a 'smoke screen' (:D) to cover up and district attention from the reprogramming that allows Google alerts all the vendors you'll need after your house burns down.
  • Reply 10 of 41

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail­

    ---------------> W­W­W.J­O­B­S­7­0­0.­C­O­M

  • Reply 11 of 41
    aross99aross99 Posts: 89member

    For those of you looking for a credit.  It looks like Nest is offering $30 back per Nest Protect purchased (link provided from Engadget's comments on their article):

     

    https://nest.com/nest-protect-credit/

     

    I already submitted mine, and received a confirmation e-mail back from Nest.  The form is kind of weird and doesn't give you any real confirmation when you submit it, but it worked for me.

     

    I'm not excited about the change in ownership either, but I have been happy with my two units, and I will probably take my $60 and apply it to a third unit.

  • Reply 12 of 41
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    rogifan wrote: »
    And yet prior to the Google acquisition this product was featured heavily in Apple's B&M and online stores. I'd argue that Beats is a one trick pony too - selling overpriced crappy plastic headphones.

    You continue to prove that you have no idea what you're talking about.
  • Reply 13 of 41
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    fithian wrote: »
    So, what happens to the one I own? The wave feature has been disabled by the software. Is what I have now the same as the updated one without the wave feature, which is selling for $30 less than the price I paid. Seems like I am due a check for $30.

    Do yourself a favor and insist they refund you, and get a real carbon monoxide detector. I wouldn't have one of these gimmicky POS in my home.
  • Reply 14 of 41
    applezillaapplezilla Posts: 941member

    Google really knows how to pick 'em.

  • Reply 15 of 41
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    It's encouraging to see how well Nest tests its "features" especially for such a critical device like a smoke alarm. Also encouraging is how they just decided to scrap the feature and drop the price, instead of doing the hard work of solving the problem.



    [/s if it wasnt completely obvious. Can't believe how many people were up in arms that Apple didn't buy this 1 trick pony company. Still don't know a single person with a Nest product. Apparently, making something look like an Apple product is not a guarantee for success. ]

    Lame comment (oooh, you're so snarky…)

    Apple has been in the same boat, as far as testing features.

    Nest's solution here was the best one. It is the beauty of technology.

  • Reply 16 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    And yet prior to the Google acquisition this product was featured heavily in Apple's B&M and online stores. I'd argue that Beats is a one trick pony too - selling overpriced crappy plastic headphones.

    I highlighted the difference between Beats and Nest products...

  • Reply 17 of 41
    mehranmehran Posts: 53member

    I had bought a couple of protect and during the install I noticed it had no interconnect wire (normally the red wire).  I contacted them and they claim that is by design and they talk to each other wirelessly (and they do) BUT:

     

    This means you must change all of your smoke detectors at once i.e. you cannot change them one at a time.  I liked them because it was easy to know which unit had detected a problem so you can quickly investigate.

     

    BUT, I could not turn off the alarm at the device or using the software (iPhone, and web) when I had a false alarm.  I ended up having to get my tools and totally remove the damn thing from the ceiling (quite an ordeal when the damn alarm is going off next to your ear); remove the battery and I had to do that to all my installed units because others continued to sound the alarm even though I had removed the false alarm one.  I had to go to the website and deactivate the offending unit from my account so other would stop.

     

    I was lucky the recall came about and I was able to return them all.

     

    There is one good thing about the company.  They really did take them back without a hassle.  Overall I expected an easier to use device when I was paying 4 times what a good quality smoke/co alarm costs.

  • Reply 18 of 41
    waterrocketswaterrockets Posts: 1,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

     

     

    It is one thing to test features and functions to ensure they work when they are supposed to - it is much harder to test to ensure that no features is inadvertently triggered - especially one that detects motion at a distance as opposed to detectors inside the body of the device. 

     


     

    I'll guarantee that there is a very experienced test lead on the Protect team that was brushed aside after he prepared his test plan for the device. I've seen too many times that management bites off more product than they can chew with their budget. Pretty bittersweet "I told you so" on the test lead's part.

     

    I'm very unimpressed that they shipped with this insufficiently tested high-risk feature. Now they have to spend the money to test it anyway, have chopped their revenue off at the knees, and lost consumer confidence.

  • Reply 19 of 41
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post

     

     

    I'll guarantee that there is a very experienced test lead on the Protect team that was brushed aside after he prepared his test plan for the device. I've seen too many times that management bites off more product than they can chew with their budget. Pretty bittersweet "I told you so" on the test lead's part.

     

    I'm very unimpressed that they shipped with this insufficiently tested high-risk feature. Now they have to spend the money to test it anyway, have chopped their revenue off at the knees, and lost consumer confidence.


     

    Not sure if there is more detail on this feature - but it seemed to me from what was in the article here that the problem was simply that in some cases the wave to deactivate function was trigged inadvertently. No information given about how likely it was or how frequently or for how long the alarm would be disabled. I am guessing the feature was included to allow for cases such as you burned dinner to be silenced easily - and must have some sort of reset procedure - either manual or automatic I do not know - but a simple software update to reactive the alarm says 5 minutes after begin deactivated should be a relatively good fix, no? 

     

    It also could have been a last minute, hey ya know what would be a cool feature to add? and very little time to code and test it before shipping. 

     

    I know from my own coding experience how easy it is to make a change that tests well but that fails in the field - or which works well enough on a test sample but fails when a real world case that doesn't fit your test patterns is used. I have had to include an extensive set of test cases - which I run through each time I change the code - even when I don't think I changed anything that would affect ALL the test cases - I still run em all. 

  • Reply 20 of 41
    waterrocketswaterrockets Posts: 1,231member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

     

     

    Not sure if there is more detail on this feature - but it seemed to me from what was in the article here that the problem was simply that in some cases the wave to deactivate function was trigged inadvertently. No information given about how likely it was or how frequently or for how long the alarm would be disabled. I am guessing the feature was included to allow for cases such as you burned dinner to be silenced easily - and must have some sort of reset procedure - either manual or automatic I do not know - but a simple software update to reactive the alarm says 5 minutes after begin deactivated should be a relatively good fix, no? 

     


     

    Looking at the Protect user guide, the wave will only silence "Heads-Up" alerts, which would be like a burning dinner. Critical emergencies (thick smoke) cannot be silenced with the wave. Clearly there has to be a reset time after the wave, but skimming that document, I didn't find it.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

     

    It also could have been a last minute, hey ya know what would be a cool feature to add? and very little time to code and test it before shipping. 

     

    I know from my own coding experience how easy it is to make a change that tests well but that fails in the field - or which works well enough on a test sample but fails when a real world case that doesn't fit your test patterns is used. I have had to include an extensive set of test cases - which I run through each time I change the code - even when I don't think I changed anything that would affect ALL the test cases - I still run em all. 

     


     

    Little time to code and test is not an excuse. That's poor management. Omiting test cases that are not obvious is forgivable, but still a mistake. Maybe the CPSC didn't have rules in place to test against, then the Protect came out, and they didn't like some portion of the implementation, and wrote some new rules.

     

    After skimming the user guide, it's tough to see if this is from a CPSC change or a Nest shortfall.

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