Last week, smart home company Wink made the surprise announcement that it was transitioning to a subscription-based business model, one that would effectively brick customers’ devices if they didn’t start to pay a monthly fee. That alone was enough to upset customers, but the one-week deadline Wink gave them sent users into a frenzy, prompting a response from the company.
Wink is a smart home company that sells hardware and that works with a number of existing, more established Internet of Things hardware from companies like Philips. Customers paid a one-time fee when they purchased the hardware kit, but that apparently wasn’t enough. Wink raised speculation that the company is experiencing financial hardship when it declared that customers had only one week to start paying a $4.99/month subscription fee.
Users don’t have to pay for this subscription, but it’s the only way to keep using the hardware they own; without it, they won’t be able to access their products in the Wink app, effectively bricking them until the customer pays up. Around one week after its initial announcement, Wink is back with an update.
In a tweet, the company said that it is extending the subscription deadline and that its customers now have until May 20 to pay, giving them one additional week with their devices. This, as expected, didn’t exactly satisfy customers, many of whom continue to speculate that Wink is spiraling financially; others insist they refuse to pay out of principle.
In its original announcement, Wink said that combined ‘economic events’ and its long-term costs made the subscription fee a necessity. The company explained that it chose the most ‘modest’ subscription price it could and that it was paywalling customers’ products behind the fee. No additional details about the reasons for the change were provided, however.