SAN FRANCISCO – Google’s Nest Labs is resuming sales and lowering the price of a high-tech smoke detector that was pulled from the market after malfunctioning.
The new price for the detector, called “Nest Protect,” will be $99 when sales resume late Monday following a two-month moratorium. That’s a 23 per cent discount from the alarm’s original price of $129 when Nest released it last fall.
Nest is in a better position to lower its prices because it now owned by Google Inc., one of the world’s most profitable companies. Google, based in Mountain View, California, bought Nest for $3.2 billion earlier this year.
The price cut could help spur sales of a device that hasn’t worked as advertised.
Nest designed the device so an alarm warning of smoke could be turned off with a wave of the hand after a user determined there was no danger. But other kinds of hand gestures also could turn off the alarm, raising the spectre that the device might remain silent when a fire broke out.
The defect prompted Nest to halt sales of the detector in early April. The company also delivered software updates over the Internet to deactivate the wave feature on the devices that had already been sold and installed. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that about 440,000 units of the Nest Protect had been sold by the time of the recall.
The wave feature is still being left off the Nest Protect as it returns to the market. That means users will have to press a button to stop the sound of an alarm, just like on traditional smoke detectors. The Nest Protect detects unsafe levels of carbon monoxide as well as smoke.