When we last joined Wink, the company decided to start charging a subscription with one week̵7;s notice. Then it was extended for another week. Then, Wink announced that it would hold on for the time being, thanks to “incredible support” for the subscription plan. Today is another announcement, and Wink has announced that it will start charging a $ 5 monthly subscription starting July 27.
You can choose not to pay for the subscription, but it comes at a very high cost. You lose access to the Wink API, cloud control, voice control, remote control, your robots (automation), groups, shortcuts and activities. It only provides local control over a few devices.
You either have to give up and subscribe to the Wink subscription, or switch to another smart hub that is compatible with all your smart home devices.
The news came via an email sent to users today:
Hi Wink Community,
We want to share updates about our Wink subscription – an important change for Wink that allows us to give our customers a strong and growing smart home experience. The change will provide increased support for new brand integrations and continue to improve through firmware and software updates.
Please know that we have adjusted our timelines since our first announcement on May 6 to give users more opportunities to consider. We were able to extend our service so that subscriptions now begin on Monday, July 27, 2020. All users who have not already subscribed must visit subscription.wink.com to write up. Users with a hub in their account should subscribe with the same email address registered with their hub. Paid subscribers can continue to use all their connected devices, cloud services, automation and third-party integrations.
For most of its history, Wink stated that it did not charge a monthly subscription to use its hub, and it says so right on the hub. For anyone who bought a hub under that promise, the transition to a subscription service may feel like having your smart home left for solution.
That it came to this, however, is not a surprise. Wink has been on shaky ground for years and culminated with two purchases, including the latest for iam +, a technology company owned by Will.i.am. Eventually, you couldn’t find hardware in the stores, and we ended up totally recommending the product.
The truth is that a subscription service is probably necessary for the company to have any chance of continuing. Ongoing revenue is needed to keep the cloud servers up and running.
But for all that, it still feels like a bait-and-switch. When it comes to any service, free is never really free.