Revolv Home Automation System to be Deliberately Bricked, Customers May be Compensated

Published: April 5, 2016 9:54 PM /


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The home automation system known as the Revolv hub will no longer be supported, according to a post by Revolv's founders. Normally, "no longer supported" means there will be no new software updates, but you would expect that the existing functionality of the device would still continue as usual. However that is not the case. The page clearly states that as of May 15, 2016, the hub simply won't work anymore.

This issue was brought to wider attention by a Medium post by Arlo Gilbert, a Revolv customer. He states that a $30 dollar container of hummus is more valuable than the Revolv hub which he bought for hundreds of dollars. Although the Revolv hub is a Nest product, Gilbert aims criticism at Google, which acquired Nest over a year ago. However, due to the restructuring of Google last year, Alphabet is technically the parent company of Nest now rather than Google.

In the post, Gilbert calls into question the reliability of any Google product by stating, "Which hardware will Google choose to intentionally brick next? If they stop supporting Android will they decide that the day after the last warranty expires that your phone will go dark? Is your Nexus device safe? What about your Nest fire/smoke alarm? What about your Dropcam? What about your Chromecast device? Will Google/Nest endanger your family at some point?"

He also raises the concern that other companies might choose to do something similar with their own devices. He states, "Imagine if you bought a Dell computer and Dell then informed you that when your warranty ends your computer will power down. Imagine if Apple put out a new policy that not only won’t they replace the device for defects, but they will actually be bricking your phone 12 months after purchase." He concludes that the internet of things means that you never really own the devices you pay for.

Gilbert also takes issue with the fact that Nest did not make a bigger effort to inform customers of this upcoming bricking. He states, "It is also worth pointing out that even though they have my email address, the only way a customer discovers this home IoT mutiny is to visit the Revolv web site." Gilbert only found out about it because he was checking the Revolv site for an update on a feature request.

However, a recent article by The Verge suggests there may be a bit of good news for Revolv customers. Nest claims they will be offering compensation to customers. A Nest Spokesperson told the Verge, "We’ve been working with the small number of Revolv customers on a case-by-case basis since we sent out the first customer notification in February to determine the best resolution, including compensation." That statement doesn't provide much information. It doesn't say whether customers will compensated for the full price of the device or just a partial compensation. Since Nest is in the business of home automation, they might offer customers another device as an alternative to monetary compensation, but the statement doesn't say if that is an option or how this will all play out.

Are you concerned about companies bricking devices that you've already paid for? Do you think Nest is being fair and acting legally with bricking the devices?  Leave your comments below.

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| Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.