A popular smart-home hub is suddenly a lot less popular with its users after making a surprise announcement that customers will have to start paying a monthly subscription fee next week or lose access altogether.
The Wink Hub first launched in 2014, promising a way for smart-home enthusiasts to connect and control all their devices at once through one master interface. Basically, Wink exists to simplify life for someone whose lights, locks, thermostat, cameras, and appliances all come from different brands and therefore need different apps to operate.
Many such platforms operate on a subscription basis, but Wink was not traditionally among them. For the past six years, consumers have happily plunked down cash to buy Wink’s hardware and then used the app for free. As of May 13, though, that will no longer be the case, Wink said yesterday, giving customers one week to pay up or lose access to the hubs they’ve used for years.