Google’s Nest alarm returns, at a lower price

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Google's Nest Labs recently announced that the company was once again selling Nest’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, two months after the company recalled 440,000 of the devices because of a defect that made it possible for users to deactivate the alarm without meaning to do so.

According to a report this week from The New York Times, Nest is also cutting the price on the product to $99 from $130. The device now lacks an easy alarm-silencing feature that was one of its biggest selling points but that was the cause of the recall.

The smoke/CO detector, called Nest Protect, is so smart it can talk to home residents to warn them if there’s a fire or dangerous levels of CO.

The company said the detector will return without the Nest Wave feature that prompted the recall in April deactivated, according to the June 17 report. That feature was designed to let people temporarily silence the alarm by waving their arms beneath it. However, Nest said it had determined earlier this year that body movements near the detector could be misinterpreted by software in the device, resulting in the unintentional silencing of the alarm, the story said.

Nest has still not fixed the glitch, but plans to reactivate the feature once it solves the problem, the company reported. Nest has already remotely deactivated the Wave feature in alarms that were already installed in homes, the report said.

The device has other capabilities that distinguish it from conventional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. For example, it transmits alerts to smartphones when the alarm sounds.