Sometimes old stuff is too old. It's sad, but companies don't have unlimited resources, and they can't provide new software updates and service forever. That's especially true of smaller companies like Dropcam (though it's technically owned by Nest, which is technically owned by Google, so I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "small" company anymore). But instead of simply leaving owners of older hardware in the dust, or compromising on new features for the always-on home monitoring service, Dropcam has decided to simply upgrade the old models for free. Neat!
Here's the gist: if you own the original Dropcam or the Dropcam Echo home security cameras, they'll stop working on April 15th after the company cuts them off from its remote access servers. But if you fill out a replacement form, the company will send you a shiny new Dropcam Pro model ($200 retail price), for free, gratis, and nothing. You don't even have to send in your older model, so if you depend on your camera for pet or baby monitoring, you won't be left without that functionality while Dropcam ships the replacement to you (which will take about three weeks).
Things get a little more complicated if you're currently paying for Dropcam's remote recording (CVR) functionality. Month-to-month customers won't have to pay for any extra time past February 1st, but they'll still be able to access the recordings on Dropcam's servers right up until April 15th. Those who've paid for a year of access will get a refund for everything after February 1st, with functionality until April 15th. The new Dropcam Pro replacement models will also come with a free month of CVR service, so you're good until May 15th, after which you have to switch to a new plan. Saved clips remain connected to your Dropcam account whether you're paying or not.
All in all it's a very cool way for Dropcam to upgrade its core capabilities without perturbing a lot of its original users. It's smart, too - those early adopters are usually a company's best word-of-mouth evangelists, and keeping them in the loop can't do any harm. That said, there's nothing that says Dropcam has to do this, now or at any other time, so don't expect free lifetime upgrades. It might be possible to hunt down an older Dropcam model and snag a free upgrade, but I wouldn't try it. Dropcam hasn't posted a public version of the form (presumably it will go out to current users via email), and since they're no longer selling the old models directly from the online store, I'm guessing that there is a cutoff date for the replacement program.