from the daily-reminder dept.
An article at The Electronic Frontier Foundation goes over a recent decision by the home automation company Nest to disable some of its customers' devices in May:
The Hub debuted in 2013 and was discontinued after Nest acquired Revolv in late 2014. One selling point was that the one-time payment of $300 included a "Lifetime Subscription," including updates. In fact, the device shipped without all of its antennas being functional yet. Customers expected that the antennas would be enabled via updates.
Customers likely didn't expect that, 18 months after the last Revolv Hubs were sold, instead of getting more upgrades, the device would be intentionally, permanently, and completely disabled.
The article also highlights the legal grey area for customers who attempt to keep their own hardware functional, due to "conflicting court decisions about the scope of Section 1201" (of the DMCA).
The EFF article links to a medium.com posting which goes over the experience of a user of the hardware in question:
On May 15th, my house will stop working. My landscape lighting will stop turning on and off, my security lights will stop reacting to motion, and my home made vacation burglar deterrent will stop working. This is a conscious intentional decision by Google/Nest. [...] Google is intentionally bricking hardware that I own.
Originally spotted at Hacker News.
About two years ago Google's Nest subsidiary acquired Revolv. It was an acqui-hire - they did not want the customers or the products, they wanted the engineers. Revolv's main product was a $300 home automation hub that relied on cloud hosted servers for all its functionality.
Today, Nest announced that they would be turning off those servers, leaving revolv customers with a $300 brick. To make things worse, Revolv had promised their customers lifetime service. Revolv is still alive and well, it's just changed its name to Nest. So whose lifetime were they talking about?