Nest Labs has stopped selling its Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm after discovering one of the device's features could delay an alarm if there is a fire.
In a letter from the CEO posted on its website, Nest said it discovered during testing that the Nest Wave feature (which allows users to make a waving motion in front of the alarm to turn it off) could be unintentionally activated. In turn, that could delay the alarm going off if there was a true emergency. Nest said it did not have any reports of the malfunction from customers.
“We identified this problem ourselves and are not aware of any customers who have experienced this, but the fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me and I want to address it immediately,” CEO Tony Fadell wrote in the statement.
Nest has disabled the wave feature in Protects that are installed in people’s homes and halted the sales of any new devices. The company expects it will take at least two to three months to put the software through testing and get approval from safety agencies in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the U.K., where Nest has just began selling products.
A review earlier this year by Consumer Reports praised the Wave feature, which is one of the conveniences differentiating the $130 device from more basic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The review did not find that the Nest was not any better than other brands at detecting fires.
Those who follow the home automation market closely have been waiting to see what the next step from Nest would be after Google bought the startup for $3.2 billion in January. While market experts have weighed whether Nest will open its platform or which companies will eagerly build apps with Nest’s API, news of a glitch that would halt Nest’s second product was an unexpected turn of events.
The bump in the road may not deter tech enthusiasts, who have already scooped up tens of thousands of Nest Protects since the device was released last fall, according to Forbes.
For customers who are second-guessing their purchase, Nest will offer a complete refund for the Protect. “We're enormously sorry for the inconvenience caused by this issue,” wrote Fadell. “The team and I are dedicated to ensuring that we can stand behind each Nest product that comes into your home."