Smarty Ring runs second fundraiser. Allows backers to pay more for confusing upgrade.

smartypage

Strangely, the Smarty Ring that we covered a few weeks ago showed up again on Indiegogo last week with an entirely new funding page.  We’ve seen copycat projects before, but this time the copycat page is actually from the original founders.

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Angel announces four month delay

angeldelay

Perhaps not too surprisingly, the incredibly sophisticated Angel wristband that we covered a few months ago has unapologetically pushed its delivery date back from mid-April to mid-August nearly doubling the waiting period backers were promised in November. The team has apparently made some strides in other areas however as they promise to deliver their first SDK by March 28 and have also completed what they claim is a fully featured development prototype.

More details in their announcement.

The Fin ring

rangs

Headlining on Indiegogo right now is the Fin wearable bluetooth ring. While it may not keep you up to date on your messages like some other ring projects we’ve looked at, the Fin aims to be a super lightweight and unobtrusive user input device for any number of bluetooth gadgets.  It took some work to figure out how it works, but even with that information, one wonders if they will really be able to deliver the performance and user experience they’re advertising.

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Despite guarantee, Vybe misses ship date

vybe-ship-date

Remember Vybe? The Buzz Band knock-off successor loudly promised a February 28, 2014 ship date, but has now quietly reneged. While they’ve scrubbed the guarantee from their website, it’s still documented in the Internet Archive and the creator’s letter to Ch00f.

Over 75% of crowdfunding efforts miss their deadline, and there’s still reason to believe Vybe will deliver a product eventually, so this is only notable because:

  1. They made such a big deal about shipping on time during the campaign, and
  2. They are quietly hiding their failure, hoping no one will notice.

We are curious to see what happens if enough backers start demanding their refunds.

Response from The Dash

Just received this email from Nikolaj Hviid, founder of The Dash headphones project in response to our write up:

Hi,
Just saw your teardown of The Dash. I’m impressed with the analysis.
I’d like to provide some additional content that you are allowed to share.
If you approve, I’d like to link from our campaign, unless you think that will make your site less trusted.
We haven’t disclosed much about us, but a bit about our credentials:
  • Nikolaj, ex CEO of Designit Munich (www.designit.com), ex head of design at Harman (last 2 generations of products from JBL & harman/kardon was concepted and designed by the team I built), the design teams I created, have won more than 100 innovation and design awards 2011-2013.
  • Josef Scheider, ex AKG (www.akg.com) Head of Mech engineering 20+ years
  • Toby Martin, de.linkedin.com/pub/toby-martin/6/a75/4b4
The rest of the team has similar level of experience. As you say, we have made a few products in our time.
Regards,
Nikolaj

The email included these exclusive high-resolution images which provide some more detail on the 3D construction of the ‘phones:
4C4A54EE-9C23-471E-88A9-00DB09A0F70E

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We are very impressed with the team’s openness, and the level of polish on their campaign and PR alike.  We will be following this campaign closely as it nears its November 2014 deadline.

The Dash headphones: surprisingly possible

phones

The Dash wireless earbuds cropped up earlier this week on Kickstarter, and you guys have been blowing up our inbox requesting a review.  We can see why you’re interested; they’re offering a pair of wireless earbuds with integrated heart rate monitor, bone microphone, touch-sensitive controls, voice feedback, 4GB MP3 player, and more. While a cursory glance might bring up memories of the Smarty Ring, a device with a similarly extreme sizing and technology requirements, there are a few details present in the Dash campaign that make it not so far fetched.

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Your fundraising goal is bullshit

blast

When your average tech journalist wants to talk about the success of a new product or service, he has a lot to draw on.  Netflix subscriptions can be compared to cable subscriptions, iPhone sales can be compared to Android sales.  Even the number of reported returns or one star Amazon reviews can tell you a lot about the success of a company’s new product.

Unfortunately, in the world of crowd funding, there isn’t a whole lot to go on when trying to gauge success.  Many crowd funded products are too unique to compare to products already on the market.  Others attempt to butt heads with established brands, but journalists can’t verify their claims without review units. Readers want to hear who won and who lost, but the world of product development makes that distinction cloudy.

Fortunately, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and just about every other crowd funding site offer an arbitrary and random way to gauge the success of a campaign without drawing on information from any of the established and reliable sources mentioned above: the funding goal.

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Atlas Fitness Tracker doesn’t understand what an endorsement is

Just noticed something on the Atlas Fitness Tracker campaign.  It’s a textbook example of a crowdfunding project mistaking a quote for an endorsement.

atlas quote

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A quick message from the founder of Hydrobee

Last week, I got a message from Burt Hamner, founder of Hydrobee which we reviewed recently.  Here’s what he had to say (edited to remove personal information):

Your DropKicker review was fair, glad you know we can make the power claimed, and yes, there is a lot more work to do to make this a commercial product!  And yes, I have not done it before, so I got smart.  Find help!

We have now figured out how to charge our USB dynamo/battery with faucets and hoses, streams and rivers, wind, bikes, pulleys and open wood fires.  Design in process.  Found a great prototyping and batch manufacturing team in Tijuana who makes power tools etc.

Also we have a little coalition of local Seattle people forming “McStarter” consulting team to help others do crowd funding.  Maybe we can enlist you guys as product reviewers  pre-Kickstarter, for those entrepreneurs smart enough to know that’s a good idea!

Burt Hamner, President, Hydrobee SPC

The Ark wireless portable charger

ark

As the portable backup battery market is flooded with a number of hand-held battery solutions, the Ark from Bezalel hopes to float above the rest by offering a wireless charging feature uncommon in portable devices.  With forty days and forty nights left to go on their campaign, it looks like they’re well on their way to reaching their $35,000 goal, but when their efficiency claims are scrutinized, one wonders why anyone should bother waiting.

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