When I planned to buy my first home security cameras, the Arlo Q was my obvious choice – every reviewer pointed out that it offered seven days of free cloud storage rather than forcing you into a subscription. Heck, even Arlo advertised it on the packaging.
But on January 1, 2024, the company is removing that feature for many Arlo cams — and reserves the right to eliminate all cloud functionality, including email alerts, push notifications, and other “bundled services or features,” for any camera that doesn’t. did. produced for four years.
Arlo is bringing that news in the form of a new retroactive “End-Of-Life Policy” which you can read in full below, but the short version is this:
According to redditors who received an email from Arlo (through 9to5Google) with the new policy, you can still “live stream video, receive motion alerts, and save video clips locally using a compatible Arlo base station.” But grammatically it’s not clear if that means the base station is necessary for live streaming any videoor just for local storage.
I understand and sympathize with the idea that a company may not want to support its products forever, and EOL policies are not uncommon, nor does support for, say, a phone stop after 3-4 years. But these aren’t smartphones you replace so often – they’re products we install in our homes and can be expected to use indefinitely. And again, 7 days of free cloud storage is a feature that was advertised right on the box.
I wonder if there will be lawsuits. Canary was sued in 2018 for bait-and-switch tactics when it began charging for services that used to be free, but the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed over whether Canary could force its clients into binding arbitration. Arlo also has a binding arbitration policy.
When Amazon killed off its Cloud Cam, which also offered free 24-hour storage, owners at least got a free replacement device and a year of subscription service. Perhaps the company will do something like this if there is enough resistance.