A Long-Overdue Product/Status Update

For the past few months we’ve had continuous delays in producing sufficient units to meet/exceed demand. From the emails we’ve received we know this is frustrating to our current (and likely future) customers, and it’s mighty frustrating to us as well. This update has been in the works for a few months, but we wanted to make sure we had a good handle on all the issues before we just kept saying “one more delay” (if you’ve ever seen The Money Pit, it’s reminiscent of the contractor saying “about two weeks”).

Some brief backstory is important. As a small developer of electronic hardware, one of the biggest bets you make is your choice of contract manufacturer (CM). We had initially chosen a well-respected, domestic CM and everything was lined up to go. To make a long story short, they left us at the altar. I’m still not sure why, other than the fact that what we’re doing is completely new and did not fit neatly into any of their existing product categories. So we scrambled to find another one. Luckily we came up with a good alternative quickly. But we then had to start the long process of getting them geared up for production. This took longer than it should but we got it done.

As the new CM got up to speed, a few other minor setbacks occurred. We had quality issues with some of the plastic molds and the snap-on feature for our modules was not working as advertised. Any of these issue by themselves would not have added up to much of a delay but when added together they complicated the delivery schedule. By the time we cleared these up, we had already missed our original target ship date (we *did* ship some units, but not the entire batch as we had planned). Over the next four months we worked literally side by side with our second CM to get production up to the pace we were trying to hit.

This week we’ve made an important new change. We have moved on to another, bigger CM. One who is used to projects like ours and will be able to quickly scale to meet demand. Which is critical as we continue to receive more and more great coverage from outlets like LinuxJournal (cover, w00t!) and the Economist.

So where are we now?

  • Completed fulfillment of all initial orders (placed prior to March 17th)
  • In process of moving production to new manufacturer
  • Delayed on shipping the camera module (the details of which I will spare you for now, but suffice it to say – complex manufacturing issue)
  • Starting production on von Hippel, WiFi, and one new module (which we’ll blog about next week)

What should you expect?

  • Camera module to ship in September
  • von Hippel module to ship in September
  • BUGbundle to resume shipments in September

But more importantly – a lot more updates from us. We’ve made the decision to open the kimono with all production issues moving forward. Whether good news or bad, we’ll give you an update and keep you as informed as we possibly can about shipping updates, new products, and fun stuff we have cooking in our labs (yes, thats the Bug Labs labs). Please let us know if you have any questions and thanks for your support!

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11 Responses to “A Long-Overdue Product/Status Update”

  1. maurice Says:

    what about shipping tp europe?

    thanks & regards m.
    (hungry for the bug!)

  2. SK Says:

    Good information. However, without giving us the names of the manufacturers involved, it is completely unactionable.

  3. carmen Says:

    any plans to make a similar product without the click-together feature. perhaps in a single 120×15x60 mm brick with a GSM modem?

    id definitely be interested in this. even if i end up getting the moko in the mean while

  4. Shae Erisson Says:

    When you say that you’ve fulfilled all orders from before March 17th, does that mean those orders will ship in July, or in September?

  5. Nicky Says:

    Yeah is there any progress on European shipment ?

    Love to see the bug

    N

  6. Bruce Hopkins Says:

    Jeremy,

    I’m going to be eventually selling some hardware units from my website. Would you be so kind to contact me offline with the contact info for this CM?

    Thanks,

    Bruce

  7. Jeremy Toeman Says:

    @SK, Bruce – we’ll be selling directly from the Website for the foreseeable future, our CM is not reselling for us, but thanks for the request!

  8. Jenny Weinstock Says:

    Nicky, Maurice, unfortunately no not just yet – we are focusing on getting our US shipments up to speed right now and so don’t have an estimation on when we’ll be shipping internationally.

    Shae, we’ve fulfilled all orders from before March 17th, meaning all of those orders have already been shipped.

    Hope this helps to answer some questions!

  9. Jeremy Toeman Says:

    @carmen – interesting idea! while we’ve discussed this type of product, it’s not happening in the very short term, but perhaps you could suggest it on our IdeaScale site (http://buglabs.ideascale.com/) and see what kind of response you get? I’ll vote for it! :)

  10. Hallvard Says:

    Hi. Hope you get the production going and can start on the international shipments that I can see is waiting.

    Future customer in Europe

  11. Mike Says:

    It would be really good to see the products in Europe maybe early 2009?????

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