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Wink delays subscription service one week in response to customer feedback

You now have until May 20 to decide if you want to pay $4.99 a month for the required subscription service.

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You can continue to use your second-gen Wink hub, as long as you pay the monthly subscription fee.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Update, May 13: In response to customer feedback, Wink on Wednesday sent out a follow-up email, delaying the switch to the new subscription service until May 20. Anyone who has already signed up for the $4.99 monthly subscription will not be charged until May 20. Wink updated a blog post to reflect these changes. The original story, published May 6, follows.


Smart home hub-maker Wink informed customers it's moving to a mandatory subscription plan in an email sent out on Wednesday. Starting May 13, Wink Hub owners won't be able to use Wink devices unless they pay a $4.99 monthly fee. 

Wink, along with SmartThings and the now-defunct Revolv hub, was part of the early smart home. Back before Google and Amazon dominated with their comparatively user-friendly voice-controlled speakers and smart displays, these intrepid startups developed "hubs." Hubs are utilitarian, router-connected devices that are designed to unite all of your various smart home products from different manufacturers under a single app. 

Rather than switching between the Nest and Philips app, for example, Wink supports both through its own multitasking app. 

Wink (and SmartThings) hubs still exist in the wild today, but Wink -- which is owned by Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas -- was already struggling to stay afloat before "long term costs and recent economic events have caused additional strain on our business," as one section of the email reads. 

We have a lot of great ideas on how to expand on Wink's capabilities and satisfy the many requests from our user base. In order to provide for development and continued growth, we are transitioning to a $4.99 monthly subscription, starting on May 13, 2020. This fee is designed to be as modest as possible. 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.

Toward the bottom of the email, Wink confirms that users won't be able to access their Wink devices -- or any of their established smart home automations without paying the $4.99 monthly fee:

Should you choose not to sign up for a 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. Your device connections, settings and automations can be reactivated if you decide to subscribe at a later date.

I'd be curious to hear about today's email from current Wink users. Will you pay the $4.99 fee? Or stop using Wink? Let me know in the comment section below. And if you didn't get the email, Wink published the same info in this blog post.

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