Tony Fadell introduces Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector

“Nest Labs, the home hardware maker co-founded by two ex-Apple luminaries [Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers], is today unveiling its second product, Nest Protect, a $129 smart device that hopes to do for the smoke and carbon monoxide detection market what Nest’s Learning Thermostat did for home temperature control,” Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch.

“That is, it wants to turn what has become for many a mundane, malfunctioning domestic necessity into a reliable and stylish must-have,” Lunden reports. “Artfully designed, connected up with your smartphone, and full of features that work better than what it wants to replace, Nest Protect is the startup’s biggest play yet to make a global name for itself and position itself as a serious player in the connected home.”

“Just as Apple has taken technology and managed to both make it slick/aspirational but at the same time human and personal, so too is Nest Labs hoping to do the same with the Nest Protect,” Lunden reports. “‘We didn’t just want to make a better one,’ Fadell says of the square-shaped device that comes in white and black (yes, even in aesthetics the Protect departs from the circular look of today’s detectors). ‘We wanted to create something really emotional. Something that people could really like and embrace in their home, not just buy because the government tells them they have to.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Nilay Patel reports for The Verge, “More than anything, I’m surprised it’s a square.”

“A square with rounded corners, Nest CEO Tony Fadell corrects me,” Patel reports. “Then the man responsible for the iPod and the Nest thermostat beams at me and delivers the line for his newest product. ‘Safety,’ he says, ‘shouldn’t be annoying.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. It is more than stylish- it has improved function well worth the price.

    University of Michigan Grad Tony Faddell- true father of the iPod and iPhone- is growing a nice company over at Nest. Apple should offer him a board seat.

  2. I love both of my nest thermostats and use them regularly. However I don’t see myself replacing all my smoke detectors with this. I think I have 8-10? detectors which would be cost prohibitive. And really the only time you are likely to interact with the device is when it notifies you to replace batteries every several years.

    1. Perhaps they should of added some additional functionality in this device. For example, some wi-if speakers would be cool to broadcast music in your house. Or maybe some accent, mood lighting like those Phillips bulbs. Or even a camera so you could monitor your home.

      1. Read about it. The Nest Protect is both a smoke detector and CO detector instead of needing two separate devices. Plus, the lighting can be set to turn on as you walk under it to act as a night light. It has a warning mode and an emergency mode, so if you burn toast, you just waive at it to turn it back off. It also works with your Nest Thermostat to help both run better.

        The wireless speakers is a neat idea, but not very practical as far as good speakers go in that form factor with all of the connectivity and sensors.

        1. Right. In the video they keep comparing it to a $29 smoke detector. But most smoke detectors don’t detect CO2 as well. That’s a great enhancement.

        2. Exactly. A good CO detector costs about $30 (or more, cheap ones can be less). Smoke detectors a little less, so you’re talking about $50-$60 for both non young things.

          You don’t have any connectivity with the Nest thermostat, no app control, no light, and no future upgrades. You do get a cost savings. I can see getting a couple for key areas of the house, like the kitchen and main hallway! but waiting to replace bedroom smoke detectors until the current ones stop working.

          Which reminds me, I should probably get the ladder out and test mine. Sure would be nice to just waive at it and have it report verbally (or check in on my iPhone).

        3. Fatally flawed design. Smoke accumulates at the ceiling, CO accumulates at the floor. A single unit cannot do both well.

          Secondly, a talking electronic gadget with a long list of color codes to remember is more annoying than an electronic sensor that just works.

          Finally, in many areas, new home construction codes wisely require that smoke and CO detectors be wired into power. Commercial buildings signal the fire department directly. This battery-powered device merely extracts more money from people who are enamored with glowing talking objects.

        4. I see, you are correct.

          I still fail to see much value added by having a talking glowing box. Think about it: when automobiles started to deploy automatic headlights and low-intensity daytime running lights, the number of vehicles on the road cruising around at dusk and in the rain with no lights on, and no tail lights illuminated, has DRAMATICALLY increased. These idiot drivers have been fooled into letting a machine think for them, not even stopping to think that the more important purpose of most lights on a vehicle is not merely to see, but to BE SEEN.

          And so it is now with home automation — gimmicks that will not improve performance, but rather lull people into thinking they are safer because of talking glowing interfaces. Nothing makes this an inherently superior sensor, and in fact combining two different functions (CO and smoke) compromises its usefulness.

          Taking the time to plan for fire safety, which should involve an annual family ritual of fire drills and equipment maintenance, is infinitely more valuable than waving to an overpriced gadget or checking remotely your battery status on the web.

        5. Mike – think about the advantage of having multiple smoke detectors talk to each other when hard wiring isn’t feasible. Also think about the advantages of knowing by text message if an alarm has gone off when you’re not at home.
          Last, in California combo smoke and CO detectors are pretty standard fare and are approved by the state.
          These things may not be perfect, but they’re definitely progress.

  3. Yay! – it has a “photoelectric smoke sensor” which I assume means it contains no nuclear power plant waste (americium-241). I’ve been waiting to replace my smoke detectors until a good photoelectric one showed up.

  4. Ehh ok?

    The design is cool but how do you really make a better detector? Higher sensitivity? I don’t get it but nice design.

    “Nest’s Learning Thermostat” has really don’t nothing for the home temperature control. Ok, I don’t even know what it does but it says thermostat in the name so one might figure. Controlling heat and cooling isn’t that hard. Put a sensor outside and regulate that way. A thermostat at the radiator is only there to really decrease the flow if you don’t agree with the temperature that your heating appliance is sending the radiator. I live in Sweden, so maybe this isn’t the market for Nest’s Learning Thermostat but I have never seen one, or heard any one talk about one ever… And I work in the business so I don’t agree that it has changed anything at all… That’s quite a big statement saying you have changed something. Besides. With good central heat regulation there is no need for thermostats. They are actually a quite unnecessary device.

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