Linkwallet Emerges, Says Wallets Will Ship By End Of 2014

ping walletSince backing a hardware project on a crowdfunded site feels like shopping, people get annoyed when the things they “bought” don’t show up when expected. Like the Ping Wallet, which we featured here on the site yesterday. A year after raising $59,000, the smart wallet is the subject of a Kickstarter backer revolt. However, the company’s CEO has re-emerged and says that the delays are just because he wants to send backers a wallet that doesn’t suck.

“I didn’t want to do an update until the wallet was perfect,” CEO Alix Narcisse told Consumerist in an interview on Friday. “I’m a perfectionist.” Plus, producing and selling a product that doesn’t work as promised to backers and other customers leads to refunds and returns, something that startups can’t really afford. The company has apparently spent all of the Kickstarter funds, and then some, on the first production run of wallets.

Linkwallet, as the product and the company are now called, experienced problems with the wallet’s battery life early in production. As the product was originally described, the wallet would connect to your phone using Bluetooth, and the battery would last about two years. Linkwallet CEO Alix Narcisse told Consumerist that the delay has been due to the battery issue and finding the right company to produce the wallets. However, he says, they’re definitely going to ship by the end of 2014 and be available for holiday giving.

We can understand the barriers that exist in bringing new hardware from an idea to production to consumers. Narcisse himself is a veteran of a failed attempt to develop and bring a super-thin Android tablet, the OGT Eros, to market.

Most people have dealt with or know someone who has dealt with contractors building, repairing, or renovating a house. Imagine the time and cost overruns that typically happen in that case. Then imagine that you’re having the contractor make, say, ten thousand houses for you, and you and the contractor are in drastically different time zones and don’t speak the same language. Having hardware made in China can be something like that.

Kickstarter has reminded us for two years now that the site is not a store. It’s a process to back projects that you want to support and bring them to life, and not a mall. Receiving stuff is a perk, not the point. For example, I recently backed a campaign to send a French bulldog to meet children across the country with craniofacial issues. I sent the campaign $15, and I got…a sticker. That’s not a commercial transaction; that’s the modern equivalent of an NPR tote bag.

So, is Linkwallet on the up and up? We can’t say for sure. No one will know for sure until customers have working wallets in their hands. We’ll keep track of the situation, and the backers will certainly let us know when that happens.

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