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Nest Bets That You Secretly Hate Your Smoke Detector

Nest Protect
Nest ProtectCourtesy Nest

Nest Labs seems to be on a mission to prove that it can turn anything into an iPhone. A pleasing appearance, easy-to-use interface, early-adopter cachet, and boom—you can charge a huge premium for a product that almost no one had thought much about before. Even if it’s a smoke detector.

The device company is following its celebrated thermostat with Nest Protect, a smoke and carbon-monoxide detector that manages to raise a weird question: Why spend so much energy to reinvent a ubiquitous, adequate, and typically inexpensive household item?