Smart home platform Wink will require customers to pay a $4.99 per month subscription fee starting May 13th, the company announced today. That gives Wink users just seven days to decide if they want to pay a monthly fee for a service that was previously offered for free as part of owning a Wink product.
If you opt not to sign up for Wink’s subscription, “you will no longer be able to access your Wink devices from the app, with voice control or through the API, and your automations will be disabled on May 13,” according to Wink’s announcement blog. That seems to mean that you’ll lose the ability to use non-Wink-made smart home products connected to a Wink-managed setup. Though if you decide to subscribe later, your device connections, settings, and automations can be reactivated.
Wink’s “long term costs and recent economic events have caused additional strain on our business,” the company said. “This fee is designed to be as modest as possible,” Wink continued later in the blog. “Your support will enable us to continue providing you with the functionality that you’ve come to rely on, and focus on accelerating new integrations and app features.”
Wink has not responded to a request for comment from The Verge about the announcement. The sudden shift to a subscription service isn’t the first indication that Wink may be experiencing troubles. A report published by The Verge in October 2019 described how Wink, which is owned by will.i.am’s technology company i.am+, hadn’t at the time paid staffers in seven weeks.