If you own a 2013 SmartThings hub (that’s the original) or a SmartThings Link for the Nvidia Shield TV, your hardware will stop working on June 30 of this year. The device depreciation is part of the announced exodus from manufacturing and supporting its own hardware and the Groovy IDE that Samsung Smartthings announced last summer. SmartThings has set up a support page for customers still using those devices to help those users transition to newer hubs.
That transition will also include a discount for users of the affected devices if they want to purchase the latest Aeotec version of the SmartThings hub. If you’re still using either of the older devices you should expect an email that will provide a discount code to buy the Aeotec hub through TheSmartestHouse.com. That discount will be available until April 15.
Those who purchased one of these products in the last three years (Kevin just missed the window with his March 2018 purchase of the SmartThings Link for the Nvidia Shield) can share their proof-of-purchase at Samsung’s Refund Portal to find out if they are eligible for a refund. And in a win for those of us worried about e-waste, Samsung is also planning to recycle the older gear (or it will at least send you a prepaid shipping label so you can send back the devices for theoretical recycling).
I get that a lot of y’all are going to be upset over this news, especially because transitioning hubs and routines is a pain. If you’d rather abandon the SmartThings ship entirely then we have a list of alternative hubs you can find, although many of them are tough to find in stock owing to chip shortages and supply delays. I’m going to use this moment to argue for companies to put expiration dates on their products so buyers can evaluate how long they should expect a device to last, especially for something like a hub which can require hours of programming and setting up.
Those who purchased the first version of the hub in 2013 to see it stop working after seven years is annoying, but it doesn’t feel like an affront. It’s still pretty early to determine what the lifetime of a smart home hub should be. Based on the discounting plan, Samsung seems to think three years is sufficient, although that seems pretty limited to me. For a hub device, five years feels like a good minimum, and I might even hope it would last a decade. But I am cheap and hate to reprogram my home automation.
The thing I most like about this news is that Samsung is thinking about the death of these products and planning for recycling. I, of course, now wish I hadn’t tossed my 2013 SmartThings hub a few years back. Sure I dropped it at the electronics waste section of Austin’s transfer station, but I’m under no illusions that the city recycled it in any meaningful way.