Nest software bug shuts down smart thermostats for many customers

Abner Li, writing for 9to5Google:

Nest owners have reported that their smart thermostats have stopped working and as a result many woke up to colder than normal temperature in their house and unresponsive completely dead Nests. The fault lies in a software update (version 5.1.3 or later) that was pushed out to devices in December that drains the battery and ultimately shuts down the device.

Embedded devices have traditionally been tested to the point where they are bulletproof. As an example, when’s the last time you experienced a bug with your microwave, dishwasher, or washer/dryer? Not saying bugs don’t exist in that space, but certainly they are very rare.

Is this a sign of the future we can expect as the Internet of Things creeps further into our lives?

  • rb763

    This isn’t just inconvenient, it could be serious. I can imagine someone from a cold climate on holidays coming home to burst pipes and a flooded basement.

  • lkalliance

    I’m extremely hesitant to take part in the Internet of Things (or, as a sign in my company’s IT manager’s office calls it, the Internet of Targets). The extra convenience I perceive isn’t worth the security implications or, in the absence of bad actors, bugs like these.

  • JimCracky

    Internet of Things may be more hype than practical solution to modern living.

    analogue baby

  • StruckPaper

    The reasons why embedded devices have traditionally been “bulletproof” are – simplicity and single purpose – standalone – minimum human input

    Devices like Nest do not abide by those principles. Expect more of this. Just look at phones, did home phones have the same frequency of problems as mobile phones and smartphones? With increasing function comes increasing failure rate.

  • RK

    I have been thinking about a smart door lock. But I could not pull the trigger to purchase as I am worried about not understanding the various ways it can fail.

    • I’m in the same boat. I’d be more concerned about it getting hacked than anything else.

  • Curmudgeon

    Honeywell’s thermostat unit is based in Minnesota. Nest is, well, you know. I have a hunch if the engineers behind Nest lived in a place where life and death from functional heat any given day are part of your experience that they’d test the hell out of things.


  • Yet another reason I don’t trust Google. Nest was fine before Fadell sold out. Just imagine what will happen when Google’s (Android-powered?) self-driving cars glitch out at 70 mph!