Sales of the Nest smoke alarm have been halted because engineers have discovered a flaw in the software that has potential for malfunctioning units. The company was recently purchased by Google and there has been quite as bit of speculation as to what Google will do with an internet-connected smoke alarm.
The company has issued a notice, written by CEO Tony Fadell, after a glitch in the software was discovered. The smoke alarm with the feature known as the Wave can actually be deactivated by waving the hands, but it was discovered that in the event of a fire, activation be delayed, and sales have been curtailed until the flaw is fixed.
The note also states that it could up to two or three months to have the flaw repaired. Although sales have been halted, the company emphasizes that it is not a product recall. The situation is explained or spun in such a way that it would require a combination of circumstances to have activation delayed, and the problem has not been experienced by any of its customers.
Over the next day or so, the Wave feature will be automatically disabled to users with Wi-Fi access to their Nest accounts, and the company is asking all users who have not connected their devices to a Wi-Fi account, to do so, so that the Wave feature can be disabled. It also warns all users to discontinue the use of the unit if it cannot be connected to a Wi-fi account.
Up to the end of September, a full refund is also being offered to all customers who wish to return the device.
When the Wave feature is disabled, the device operates like a conventional smoke detector. Ironically, the Wave feature is one of the many innovations that have won company plaudits for its design, but the company decided to halt sales of the smoke alarms, instead of asking customers to update the product with software patches. Google acquired Nest in January, for an estimated $3.2 billion, which was the one of biggest purchases the company has made to-date.
At the time of the acquisition, the potential for connecting the smoke alarm to other devices, and the potential for building smart devices to make life, while making a positive impact was an important key to combining the company’s technologies. Both Google and Nest appeared to be committed to making a significant difference, in the manner in which energy was consumed while keeping household safe.
Google may have been previously involved with smart thermostats, through its own efforts, which may now be supplanted by the work being done at Nest Labs. They have also been quietly working on the PowerMeter project, which is a free tool that can be used for monitoring energy usage. Some of the features include visualization and approximation, in addition to the ability to share the data with others. The project was run in partnership with device manufactures and offered some energy-saving advice to users around the world.
Nest is much more than a manufacturer, but is rich with intellectual property. The company has been granted more than 100 patents, with another 200 in the process of being filed and another 200 applications being prepared. Google has not issued any comment on the sales of the Nest smoke alarms that have been halted, and inquiries were referred to Nest.
Written By Dale Davidson