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Nest Labs burns through thermostat orders

Those Nest Labs thermostats, from "father of the iPod" Tony Fadell, are a hot seller--they're sold out, even, the company says.

Nest Labs thermostat
Hot seller: the Nest Labs thermostat. Nest Labs

Nest Labs says it has sold out of its thermostats.

In response to the demand, Nest Labs has temporarily shut down the online store on Nest.com and plans to reopen it in early 2012, Erik Charlton, vice president of sales and marketing at Nest Labs, announced yesterday via the company's blog.

Those who've preordered a thermostat via Nest Labs have nothing to worry about--the company says it will still be able to honor all original shipping dates on confirmation e-mails. Those who've only received a reservation number for a Nest Labs thermostat will now have to wait till sometime between December and February to receive one.

Best Buy customers who ordered a thermostat before October 28 will have their thermostat shipped by November 30. Anyone who preordered a thermostat via Best Buy on or after October 28 can expect the thermostat to ship by December 20. The electronics retailer also has an FAQ regarding installation scheduling and other details.

It's not exactly like people would be buying these as Christmas presents, but many homeowners may have hoped to snag one in time for the winter season.

Nest Labs thermostats are just programmable thermostats with very good software. They're not home energy management systems. But they have been called the iPod of thermostats for their sleek design and easy user interface--plus, they draw on the experience of folks who worked for Apple on the iPod and iPad.

For starters, the thermostat has a motion sensor that allows it to detect people in its vicinity. It can also be networked via Wi-Fi, which enables it to get info on outside temperatures, as well as making it programmable from a mobile device running Android or iOS. Instead of having to program the thermostat, users also have the option of initially using it in a learning mode wherein they just set it to the temperature they desire at different times of the day for a week. Based on their temperature habits, the thermostat self-sets to keep that schedule.

Of course, the shortage does not mean that Nest Labs sold millions of units. It's likely that as a new product the initial production run was conservative, and the company is now attempting to ramp up in response to the demand it's managed to create. To be really cynical, it could also be a marketing tactic to intensify the buzz around the product.

While Nest Labs did share that their thermostats are manufactured in China, it has declined to comment on exactly how many units have been manufactured, or or how many sold via preorders, reservations, and Best Buy.

"We aren't sharing anything more than what was included in the blog post," Kate Brinks, spokeswoman for Nest Labs, said in an e-mail.

Update 7:25 AM: This original version of this story was updated to include a response from Nest Labs.