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Nest suspends smoke-alarm sales

The company purchased by Google for $3.2 billion says its high-tech smoke-alarm product could get confused.

Nest Labs, the makers of the Nest Protect fire alarm and smoke detector, say the high-tech, home-of-the-future-type product could get confused, causing safety problems for homeowners.

The company, which was purchased by Google for $3.2 billion earlier this year, is suspending sales of the product until the problem is solved.

In a letter to customers, Nest explained that under the wrong conditions the alarm could interpret certain movements as the signal to stop emitting alarm sounds.

The idea behind the noise cut-off function -- known as the "Nest wave" -- was to allow homeowners to easily turn off the alarm in the event of a non-threatening smoke situation, such as the burning of toast in the kitchen. It was the type of user-friendly, high-tech, smart-home feature that encouraged Google to pay $3.2 billion for the company earlier this year. 

Nest is founded by a former Apple designer Tony Fadell, credited with playing a major role in developing various Apple products.

In a letter to the Nest community, Fadell said the problem with the Nest Wave was discovered first by Nest. He said the product received no complaints, but the company puts safety first. 

He added: "… The fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me, and I want to address it immediately. We feel that the best and safest thing to do is to immediately disable the Nest Wave feature to resolve the issue and remove any safety concerns. While we fix Nest Wave, we have also halted sales of all new Nest Protect alarms to ensure no one buys an alarm that needs an immediate update." 

Nest's original product is a high-tech thermostat. 


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