August halts View wire-free video doorbell sales, early customers eligible for full refund

From AirPower to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, it’s been a tough year for hardware and it’s only April. Now smart home company August is the latest firm to face an unexpected hardware challenge. Sales of the $230 wire-free August View video doorbell are being halted and some customers are receiving refunds less than three weeks since the smart doorbell started shipping.

The Verge notes that August cites early reliability issues for some customers as the reason for the sudden halt:

In a statement announcing the stoppage of shipments, August cites “performance challenges in specific user environments” as the reason. In my review of the View, published on April 9th, I noted that I experienced numerous connectivity and streaming issues while testing the device. CNET also reported long delays while connecting to the View through the August app in its testing. Customers on Amazon cite similar issues, where the View currently has a 1.5-star rating across 40 reviews.

I haven’t tested the latest August smart doorbell, but in my experience most if not all video doorbells are far from perfect when it comes to fast video connections and timely notifications — the bar isn’t exactly set high yet on this category — so performance must have really been dismal on the August View to cause the sudden unavailability.

August already has plenty of experience with shipping video doorbells too (although none with Apple HomeKit support yet) so this isn’t the company’s first entry into the category. The difference between August View and August Doorbell Cam Pro, however, is that the now-pulled hardware is August’s first to offer a wire-free connection.

In a statement shared in The Verge’s coverage, August says it plans to re-release the August View at a future date after improvements are made to the experience based on custom feedback. For customers who have already purchased the now pulled video doorbell, August is offering free refunds with the option to keep the existing wire-free video doorbell in exchange for offering feedback to the company:

If you are an August View customer and would like to keep your product and help us improve the performance, you may receive a full refund by applying here within the next seven days (ends 5/3/2019). If you have not activated your unit or would not like to provide feedback, please contact the retail location you purchased from to initiate a return.

For Apple HomeKit fans, the upcoming Netatmo video doorbell may be worth waiting for if wire-free hardware isn’t a requirement.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.