Motorcycle Airbag Requires Additional Purchase To Inflate”
The Klim airbag vest has two components that make it work. The vest itself is from Klim and costs $400 and arrives along with the airbag unit. But if you want it to actually detect an accident and inflate, you need load up a smartphone app and activate a small black box made by a different company: In&Motion. That requires your choice of another $400 payment or you can subscribe at $12 a month or $120 a year. If you fail to renew, the vest is essentially worthless.
To put this in electronics terms, it is one thing to realize your oscilloscope no longer does I2C protocol decoding because accounting screwed up paying the bill. It is another thing to suffer life-changing or life-ending injuries due to an accident. Granted, you get a 30 day grace period to correct any problems with payment, but still.
Pardon Me While I Feed the Meter on My Critical Safety Device
I can’t really decide how I feel about this. The capitalist in me knows that you need to make a profit. However, this seems like putting coin-operated oxygen on a commercial airliner. Especially since the vest apparently can work fine with no external support as long as you paid the extra $400. In all fairness, indicator lights which must be verified before every ride will alert you if the vest is locked for non-payment (or any other problem), so there’s little chance you’d drive with it thinking you had protection that you didn’t.
So maybe this is defensible, but you have to wonder where this trend will take us. Will we see cars that require a subscription to use advanced safety features the way automotive companies already upsell some non-critical software features?
What do you think? Do you own a vest that needs a subscription? Some things are incapable of working without backend support (for example, your cell phone or cable modem). Is it more defensible to cut those off? Even so, many areas require all cell phones to be capable of calling emergency services (like 911 in the US) no matter the state of their associated account. That’s a crucial safety feature of a phone and all it requires is that you have the device, not the subscription.