After putting out a PR fire over its connected smoke alarm, Nest is bringing the gadget back — but without one of its key features.
But Nest hasn’t brought back the feature that led to the Protect’s recall in the first place: a waving gesture that allows you to quiet down the device during false alarms. Nest customers previously found that other body movements could silence the Protect, which made it difficult to tell if you were facing a real emergency or not.
Like its first connected home gadget, the Nest smart thermostat, the Protect offers a wealth of information via smartphone apps. You can, for example, get an alert when the smoke alarm goes off (which could be useful if you’re not home). It can also connect with other Protect units and a Nest thermostat in your home to create a pseudo-network of appliances.
Before the recall, Nest remotely killed the hand waving feature for existing Protect users. Those users also didn’t have to send back their Protect units for repair.
Nest told the New York Times that it will eventually reactivate the hand waving feature once it figures out the issue with the Protect’s sensors. Since it’s unclear how long that will take, the slight price drop could be enough to entice people who just want a very smart smoke detector, sans waving.
While product recalls aren’t all that unusual, this is a particularly precarious situation for Nest since Google announced it intends to buy the company for $3.2 billion. Google doesn’t have much of a connected home strategy of its own yet, which makes Nest its key to getting into that market. And now with Apple’s HomeKit framework announced, Google needs to move fast to keep up.