A few weeks ago a new device entered the ever-widening bluetooth beacon market on Kickstarter. Unlike the competition, the new iFind from WeTag Inc. promises that it can offer all of the features of a standard bluetooth beacon without ever needing a battery charge or replacement. This bold feature is relatively unexplained leading to a large amount of online skepticism. In an attempt to cut through the controversy, we were lucky enough to conduct a short interview with WeTag’s CTO Paul McArthur. While his response did help us to attach more concrete numbers to the company’s claims, we are still unconvinced that iFind is a viable product.
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Though we only covered the Neptune Pine in passing when discussing how some campaigns like to quote publications that summarize their own words, some of their recent project updates have created quite a stir that deserves brief discussion.
“Energy harvesting” is a very attractive buzzphrase. The market for devices that can soak up unused energy and put it to work has been steadily growing over the past few years. Many wristwatches available today don’t need batteries or winding. They can glean energy from the motion of the user’s wrist or the light of the Sun.
A wristwatch is a fairly low-power device that lends itself to this kind of technology, but the Carbon wristwatch plans to do much more than just keep time. While the technology isn’t too farfetched, it’s the business decisions of the team that draw the potential success of this product into question.
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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.
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.
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/a75/4b4The rest of the team has similar level of experience. As you say, we have made a few products in our time.Regards,Nikolaj
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.
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.