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August 29, 2014

Nest Labs Pulls its Smoke Detectors Off Market

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Nest Labs Pulls its Smoke Detectors Off Market

Nest Labs, a home automation company owned by Google, has stopped selling its smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, known as Nest Protect, due to safety concerns with the devices, The New York Times reports.

Nest says that it will halt sales until it resolves a problem with a feature – known as Nest Wave – that allows people to temporarily disarm the alarms by waving their hands in front of the detector. Tony Fadell, Nest’s chief executive, said in a letter posted on the company’s website that Nest was concerned Nest Wave could unintentionally be activated – just by movements near the product – and that the alarm would then delay ringing if a fire ever occurred.

“We’re enormously sorry for the inconvenience caused by this issue,” Fadell wrote. “The team and I are dedicated to ensuring that we can stand behind each Nest product that comes into your home, and your 100 percent satisfaction and safety are what motivates us. Please know that the entire Nest team and I are focused on fixing this problem and continuing to improve our current products in every way possible.”

Google’s wave feature on the smoke detector was a way to simplify a common problem home owners face.

“Anyone with a conventional smoke detector knows how easily false alarms can be set off by burned toast and other events that pose no threat to life, sending home owners scurrying for ladders to remove the smoke detectors and frantically waving towels to silence them,” The New York Times reports. “Nest Wave was designed to make it easier to silence the alarm temporarily by simply waving one’s arms beneath it.”

The Nest wave function silences the alarm temporarily but if smoky conditions persist, the alarm will sound again. Nest says the alarm can’t be completely silenced in dangerous smoke conditions.

The company will send software updates to existing customers once the feature’s problem has been resolved, Nest says. It’s also offering refunds on the smoke detector to customers who wish to return the alarms.  

Source: “Nest Labs Stops Selling its Smoke Detector,” The New York Times (April 3, 2014)

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