When Nest Labs, Silicon Valley’s hottest thermostat-revamping startup, introduced a sophisticated smoke/carbon monoxide alarm dubbed the Nest Protect this past fall, there was a whole lot of brouhaha. A tired, old home safety device had been reborn! A smoke detector with style and smarts! A smoke detector that you won't want to rip out of the ceiling and throw across the room!

And much of the early buzz around Nest Protect wasn't squarely focused on the device's connectivity — among other things, it sends emergency alerts to your smartphone when your abode is ablaze or when CO levels are on the rise. 

What got folks really excited about this ingenious entry into the home fire safety market was a simple gesture, a dismissive wave, a signal of "you can be quiet now, please." You see, in non-emergency “nuisance” situations (i.e. charred toast in the morning and burnt microwave popcorn in the evening), Nest Protect's alarm could be instantly silenced with a simple wave of the hand within 2- to 8-feet of the device. Shush! Everything is okay!

Nast Labs touted this "Nest Wave" functionality as a key safety feature given that many homeowners, sick and tired of dragging out a step-ladder from the garage in response to “cry wolf” scenarios in the kitchen, ultimately decide to disable wailing, oversensitive smoke alarms altogether. Of course, this puts smoke alarm-disablers at risk during real emergencies. With Nest Protect, users would never be tempted to disable the alarm simply because it is so easy to shut up.

However, after internal testing found that Nest Wave could also inadvertently delay the alarm from sounding during legitimate emergency situations, Nest Labs halted the sale of the device and deactivated the flawed Wave functionality in already-sold units via a firmware update. A formal recall of Nest Protect was announced by the U.S. Product Safety Commission toward the end of May.

Throughout this all, Google-owned Nest Labs was confident that Nest Protect, minus the glitch, would be back on store shelves in a short amount of time. And now it is, with a slashed sticker price — down to $99 from $129 — and completely free of Nest Wave functionality. Essentially, it’s the same device as before although now you can’t hush it up with the simple wave of a hand. The Palo Alto-based company headed by Tony "the Father of the iPod" Fadell is continuing to work to find a fix for the defect so that, in the future, Nest Wave can be re-enabled.

To be clear, Nest Protect is still one mighty smart little gizmo with a myriad unique features including the aforementioned smartphone alerts and the Heads Up pre-emergency alarm that involves a gentle, non-panicked lady-voice in lieu of a shrill alarm announcing the presence of elevated smoke —and carbon monoxide — levels in the home.

Geared to make this brainy device “accessible to as many people as possible,” the $30 price chop makes investing in one of these brainy lifesavers, well, a no-brainer. Does a lower price up the appeal of Nest Protect to you?

Via [The Verge]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Nest Protect is back on sale minus its most brilliant, potentially dangerous feature
Following a recall, the world's brainiest smoke alarm, returns with a slashed sticker price — and without its signature Wave functionality.