When it first announced the subscription plan back in May, Wink said that users who didn’t fork over the monthly subscription fee would no longer be able to control their Wink hubs or access their Wink devices from the company’s app.
Now, however, Wink is promising that free users will still be able to use the Wink Hub, Wink Hub 2, and Wink Relay Touchscreen Controller with “limited functionality,” as well as retain local control of “select” devices, including lighting products (from brands such as GE, Connected Cree, Sylvania, Hampton Bay, Halo, Leviton, Lutron, and Sengled) and Z-Wave smart locks (including products from Kwikset, Schlage, and Yale).
That said, those who don’t sign up for the $4.95 subscription plan will be losing a bevy of key features, including API access and cloud control, voice control, remote app control, third-party integrations, groups, and shortcuts, along with the ability to add new devices. Free users will also no longer receive Wink firmware updates.
The “limited functionality” that Wink is offering to free users is little more than a stopgap measure until they can migrate to a new smart home platform, such as Samsung SmartThings or Hubitat.
Still, it’s better than nothing, which is what Wink users who were unwilling to sign up for a subscription plan were originally going to get.
Besides “limited” Wink hub control, Wink users will also have a little more time to decide whether to cough up for a subscription plan.
Wink first launched five years ago, and its smart home platform won wide acclaim, including from us. That said, the company, which was later acquired by Will.i.am-owned i.am+, was reportedly bleeding cash as recently as last fall.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.