Nest Protect sales suspended over safety fears

Problems with Nest Wave could see Protect shelved for months

Nest has suspended sales of its connected smoke alarm, over fears that certain features could pose a safety risk to customers.

The feature at the centre of concerns is Nest Wave, which enables users to cancel fire alerts with a wave of their hand. It's a system that's designed to take the hassle out of false alerts, which the company says is one of the main annoyances with current smoke alarms.

The company announced concerns to customers via an email from CEO Tony Faddell, the ex-Apple man credited with creating the iPod, who left Cupertino to found Nest.

In the letter, Faddell explains that laboratory tests of Nest Protect had found a "unique combination of circumstances" that could lead to a real fire alarm being cancelled. It's not clear how such a problem wasn't picked up in the stringent accreditation process required when designing a smoke alarm. Luckily, there haven't been any cases so far.

The problem is so serious, however, that the company has halted all sales of Nest Protect, until it has been resolved. In his letter, Faddell said that sales would only resume once officals in the US, UK and Canada had re-assessed its safety, which is likely to take months.

"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," he said.

"Once we have a solution that ensures Nest Wave works as intended, we will update our software to turn this feature back on. This will only happen after extensive testing and once we have received approval from safety agencies in the the US, Canada and UK. We expect this to take at least two or three months."

Anyone running Nest Protect with the system connected to the internet will see the Nest Wave feature automatically disabled in the next 24 hours.