It’s been two months since our last update which is way too long. For this we are very, very sorry. We have recently faced some challenges that has occupied our whole team, but now they are all solved, we have some important news, and we would like to tell you all about it. But first, we have a suggestion:
We have over and over been forced to tell you bad news about manufacturing delays. Many of you have shown great understanding of this (thank you!), and share our opinion about getting the right quality rather than shipping something “almost great”. At the moment of writing we have reached the end of August, and due to our recent challenges we are not ready to ship yet. The current estimation is that we will be able to ship the product during October, but instead of giving you a firm date at this point, we suggest to commit to a proper monthly update where you closely can follow the development, and then once we’re getting ready to ship - you’ll know as soon as we do - and at that point we’ll ask for your addresses. Fair enough? We do hope so.
Moving on to the update…
We are happy to announce that our new driver supplier has delivered in line with our high requirements. All is good and on track! Martin has been listening to our new Golden Sample at the factory, and is currently displaying it to the public at the Macworld Expo in Beijing. He reports the following from the field:
“I am very excited about the sound. I walked around and listened to every active 2.1 speaker I could get my hands on and I think we are notably better than every single one of them! Our aim has been to create a transparent sound that accurately gives every voice and instrument a real presence in your living room for a long lasting everyday use. This is now what we have accomplished, and then when its party time you can crank up the bass, feel the woofer really working and get your groove on!”
Martin at the Macworld 2013 show. Drop us a line if you are there, and you’ll get to check it out!
No Fabric Cables
This again!? Yes, that exactly what we thought when our certification agency raised this issue again. Apparently what we thought was a done deal based on previous statements, turned out to be as big of a problem as before. A fabric cable for this kind of appliance is a completely new thing, and entirely different from lamps, Irons or headphones. We have made a pre-study together with a global certification agency and reached the following conclusion: In order to get fabric cables out to all markets we would need three things: A separate effort that takes several months, a lot of capital to move through all testing and certification activities, and a much larger volume in our first batch than 600 units. We clearly do not have these three things in place, so the Transparent Speaker will ship with normal red cables. Our initial investigation of this design is that it also looks great, and will not affect the overall design theme. We hope you will feel the same.
Nuts About Nuts
The wingnuts have from the beginning been a favorite detail of ours. We have called it “a little design classic in itself”, with its iconic shape and self explanatory design that manifest the modular ethos of the Transparent Speaker. As it turns out this easy disassembly that we value so much is a potential safety risk according to the certification agency. Even though the user would never be able to access the high voltage through the wingnuts, one could not certify a product that was able to be opened by hand. The reasoning is based on the risk of children unscrewing the speaker drivers leaving it not functioning correctly. Faced with these aspects it was not a tough decision for us to change the design. We have decided to use Dome Nuts, who shares a similar robust and iconic expression, but needs to be opened using a tool. This little detail has a high design value since its shape is firm in everyone’s mind, but it does not scream for attention. It is simply a very functional nut with an elegant cover to hide the screw ends. We do like the beauty in these under celebrated everyday objects.
Collaboration and Communication
We are dealing with many stakeholders in the process of getting this product to market: Our factory, it’s suppliers, the certification agencies, distributors, shippers and logistics agencies to name some. To be frank, even if we have a lot of experience in developing products, we are quite small compared to many of these companies other customers. Therefore we have sometimes had a struggle getting priority with our various inquiries. And we don’t just settle for their first standard answer… y’all know we’re picky when it comes to getting stuff just right!
Nevertheless, we have just recently got every instance in line for mass production.
We have got the construction of the plastic housings just right, and we are ordering the toolings for injection molding.
No DIY Kit
At this point you have probably guessed that certification for global markets is not a walk in the park. Every market has it own requirements, and introducing new ways of doing things can be challenging. Our ambition with the DIY Kit version was to offer a less expensive alternative with half the shipping need and use of local glass makers around the world. An ambition to support localization, creativity and sustainability. There are obvious challenges with certifying a non assembled product. At this point we have got the statement from our certification agency that they need to test and evaluate the final product in order to provide a certification, and without knowing what materials or suppliers people will use in their versions, this can not be done. And without certification we can not ship or sell the product.
One of the test requirements requires a 500g steel ball.
This means that as of right now we can not launch the Kit version, so we have decided to ship a fully assembled speaker to all of you that ordered the DIY Kit, without any extra cost. This is of course a small challenge to our balance sheet, but it’s the least we can do in this situation. And don’t forget that the fully assembled version is exactly the same construction, ready for anyone's creativity at home ;)
That’s all for now folks! Keep asking us questions, and we’ll get back to you soon.