In context: Wyze is a startup that is already known for its "too good to be true pricing." Now the company is offering some of its premium subscription features in a "pay-what-you-want" model. Wyze believes that its close-knit community will pay enough for these features to support those who cannot afford to pay.
On Tuesday, Wyze launched a new subscription tier for its smart home cameras, starting at as little as $0. Cam Plus Lite adds person detection, 12-second cloud clips, and fast-forward and rewind controls. It is also removing the 32GB limit on microSD card storage.
Cam Plus Lite is just a stripped-down version of Wyze's Cam Plus subscription, which saved the company from bankruptcy during the pandemic. Cam Plus subscribers enjoy unlimited cloud recording and object recognition that includes people, packages, pets, and vehicles. Wyze's top-tier subscription, Cam Plus Pro (coming soon), adds 24-hour professional monitoring and face recognition.
The company hopes that its pay-what-you-want service will bring in a few extra dollars to help fund its already rock-bottom affordable home surveillance systems. Wyze cameras sell for as little as $36, and its upper-tier service packages only run $1.99 and $3.99 per camera per month. Cam Plus Lite will provide an entry point for those who may want to try before they buy while also leaving those who wish or need to remain free users with some sub-premium features.
Wyze piloted the pay-what-you-want model in 2020 and 2021 in a limited trial. It found that the Wyze community is quite giving and self-supporting. So it is now expanding the "name-your-price experiment" to all Wyze users.
Even those who do not opt into Cam Plus Lite will benefit from the larger on-device storage. Wyze said it just acquired rights to an exFAT patent that allows its cameras to use microSDXC cards larger than 32GB. Its latest Wyze Cam v3 already has the firmware to support bigger storage cards. Firmware updates coming in mid-February will add the feature to the rest of its cameras and bring much-needed fast-forward and rewind capabilities.
Cam Plus Lite is available now. Users can opt-in through their account services page on the Wyze website.