Apologies for the delay in sending this update. During the last couple of months, we have been working hard to ship BitLocks to our backers and answer questions regarding the app, lock setup, and fixing some of the bugs that you reported to us about the app.
The shipping process was quite challenging since we got a lot of returns because of undeliverable addresses, or custom issues in some countries. We are constantly working to resolve those issues.
This has been a huge amount of work which left us a bit exhausted for a few weeks. We are now fully recovering from the first wave of mass shipment, getting ready to ramp up production, and resume shipping/fulfillment of remaining orders which we received on our website.
As of today, we have shipped over %90 of our backers rewards. There’s been 100 remaining backers who have not yet received their rewards mainly because they forgot to fill in the survey after the lock-in date. As explained in the last update, we worked with logistics provider to bulk ship all of the locks at once. Since we could not hold back on shipping any longer, we had to ship as many lock as we could in the first batch.
We are planning to do another mass shipping at the end of October and will send the remaining units to backers at the next mass shipping event. The good news is that we are adding a 4ft x 10mm double looped cable to the remaining units as token of appreciation for waiting this long and supporting this campaign for the last two years.
OTA Update of the Firmware:
Soon after we shipped the first batch of the locks, we were notified that certain Android phones (Nexus 4, HTC M8, and a few other makes), running Android Lollipop 5 or 5.1 experienced connection issues with the lock.
After purchasing some sample Android devices, a lot of investigation, and debugging we were able to find a way to get around this issue. To fix this problem, the firmware of the lock needs to get updated. The only catch is that in order to upgrade the firmware you need to connect to the lock in the first place; meaning that in case your phone is not able to connect, you will need to borrow a iPhone or another Android phone (for 10 minutes) that can connect to the lock, and use it to upgrade the firmware.
We will gradually migrate all of the firmware to the new version. If you happen to see the following pop up on your phone, please accept and let the application run its course to upgrade the firmware (even though your lock is functionally perfectly).
The process may take up to 10 minutes (depending on the phone make/model). The firmware has been optimized so that the future updates take less than 1 minute.
Also we have been receiving this question pretty often:
Do I need to keep the application running on my phone in order to lock/unlock?
If you have Android, as long as you install the app and register the lock, you don't have keep the application running in foreground to lock/unlock. However, in iPhone it is required that the app is running either in foreground or background mode in order to connect the lock.
We are working on some sneaking way to make the lock connect to you phone even if the app is not running in background/foreground mode; however to make this happen we need to do a lot experimentation and tests. No smart lock in the market is capable of doing this and we believe that we have the answer for it, and once we make it work, it will come as an OTA update to you lock.
Please stay tunes for some upcoming exciting news in the next few weeks!
We are sincerely sorry about the shipping delays. The last month has been very tough for us. After we shipped around 400 locks, we were notified by around 5% of the backers that their units were suffering from certain defects.
We had to recall those defective units to take a look at the issue up close. We were quite surprised that none of these issues showed up in our pilot production batch nor during beta testing.
Fortunately after a thorough investigation, we were able to locate the issue and apply a very straightforward fix to resolve the issue on the defective locks.
However for the remaining locks, we decided to put all of the locks through a new set of tests to make sure that we can locate and separate the defective units before resuming shipping. The test process for each lock takes around 10 minutes and it is very difficult to expedite it by doing it in parallel. Running the tests have been taking us almost a full month of extra work.
This is a very unique product in the sense that slightest hiccups can dramatically diminish the user experience, and we could not risk shipping the next batch before we were 100% sure that any possible problem is fully addressed.
We are all indebted to everyone of our backers and are doing our best to deliver our promise to you. We have dedicated a lot of resources during the past year, have taken personal loans while working on no pay all out of passion to deliver a high quality product to our supportive backers.
We are working hard day and night to release this shipment and there are only a few hundred units remained to be tested. We have scheduled a pickup on July 15th, when the remaining locks will be shipped all together. If you still have not filled out the survey, it is still not to late.
In this update we outline the current shipping status, and address questions we are frequently receiving from backers regarding the product and the app.
During the past month we shipped around 400 units to domestic backers.
If you are among these backers, and have not opened your package and registered your BitLock, please do it now.
We really need your feedback. Since the first shipment batch, we have made numerous improvements to both Android and iPhone apps, based on the backers feedback.
We still have some work to do to perfect the app and we need as much feedback as possible to improve the user experience. (Below in this post, we go through some of the feedback we received from backers and the follow-on improvements accordingly.)
However, we ran into several issues with international shipping and we decided to partner up with a logistics company to bulk ship all of the remaining rewards together.
Here’s a summary of challenges we had to address:
a) The cost of shipping with door-to-door tracking information to many international destinations has been enormous. For example FedEx to most European countries cost above $100! We needed to figure out a way to offer door-to-door tracking while keeping the shipping cost reasonable. To address this, we partnered with a shipping logistics company who will bulk ship to each country and then use local post in destination country to the recipient. They will simply send a truck to our warehouse next week and they take care of distribution for us.
b) VAT/Duties: We also wanted to minimize value added tax and duty burden on the recipient. Our logistic partner will be helping us to achieve that as well.
c) Customs: we needed to make sure all of the documents that are necessary to clear customs in each country are included in the package.
We still do not have the information of over 400 of our backers. We must have your information including your address before we can ship to you. Since we are bulk shipping our next batch, we need everyone to finish the survey by next week June 15th. Otherwise we must place you in the next shipping batch with the recent non-Kickstarter pre-orders scheduled for beginning of August. We are going to send a survey reminder through BackerKit again. If you have never received the survey, please check your spam folder.
Android app release
In case you missed it, Android App has been on Google Play for the last couple of weeks. We made three releases during this time addressing some bugs backers reported. The Android app is now a lot more robust on many devices than before.
You can install the app from here:
We received a lot of feedback from backers and made numerous improvements to both iPhone and Android app. Here’s a short list of issues/comments:
1) Non-Facebook login
In the first app release, we only had Facebook login. We quickly implemented non-Facebook login system to offer different options to all users. This is now fully implemented on both iOS and Android.
2) Off-line login
Please note that the app is designed so that you do not have be connected to internet to use your BitLock. You only need to have data on your phone the first time you register BitLock and log into the app. Previously there were some glitches that forced the user to re-log in once in a while. The issue is fixed in the upcoming app release.
3) Dark screen after launching the app
If you have been using the app constantly you might have noticed that sometimes after opening the app, the screen would go dark and you had to restart the app to get through the dark screen. This was an issue with detecting internet/servicer reachability to automatically switch to offline mode. The issue is fixed in the upcoming app release (pending apple review).
4) Android device compatibility
Some Android users had reported issues with Bluetooth connection. We have addressed most of these issues in the current Android app. There might still be some issues especially with old devices running lollipop 5 and above versions of Android. The application is very stable on all Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and Nexus 5,6 phones.
1) How to delete/update lock information:
To edit or delete the lock from the app, on iPhone you should left swipe on the lock item to reveal the “Edit” and “Remove” options. This is a standard iOS widget.
On Android you should long press on the lock name to reveal the “Edit” and “Remove” icons.
2) How does the combination code works?
Please watch this video that explains entering the code. Basically the code is entered as a sequence of button presses switching from one button to the next at each digit. For example four presses means number 4. To enter the combination, you must long press either of the buttons for three seconds. Also, it does not matter which button you choose to start the sequence.
If you enter the combination incorrectly, you must wait for the lock to go back sleep mode to re-try. We are going to make some improvements to the combo system through an over the air update to allow for multiple re-tries.
3) Why the lock does not change state when I press the button?
Please note that you must not pull the U-bar when pressing the button on the lock or place the locking mechanism under any tension. The locking system will refuse to move if it detects any tension. This is designed to prevent the shackle (U-bar) from falling off if hanging from the lock under accidental button presses during the transport. Please make sure you put the phone inside your pocket and use both your hands, with one hand on the base and the other on the shackle to unlock. Similar to any lock, you need to use both hands to remove the U-bar. One-handed operation is impractical.
4) I cannot fine the Android app on Google Play.
If you cannot find the Android app on Google Play, It means your phone is not supported. Google automatically hides the app if your phone is not supported.
5) Did I receive the wrong T-shirt size?
Please do not rely on the labeling on the T-shirts. The T-shirts are made in Taiwan and follow Asian size standard. Please try on the t-shirt and do not judge the labeling.
6) What happens after 5 years when the battery dies?
You can easily replace the battery after 5 years. You will get a notification on your phone when the battery level is low. The battery level feature will come in the next app update.
7) What if BitLock is locked when the battery dies? How do I open the lock if that happens?
We prevent BitLock from locking back if the battery level drops below the certain threshold. In the very unlikely scenario that the lock battery dies when it is locked (assuming that you ignore the low battery notifications for a long time, and store the lock for many years after the low battery notification), there's a hidden Micro USB emergency port that you use to power the lock and release the U-bar. The port is under the blue cover and you need to cut a portion of the cover to access it. We decided to completely cover the port since it would probably never get used and exposing it would also create water-proofing issues.
We finally received the shipment yesterday. It took us almost a week to release the shipment and clear the customs. We are now preparing the shipping labels and commerce shipping tomorrow.
Since we decided to handle the shipping of the first patch ourselves due to the complicated reward levels (different T-shirt sizes and SKUs), we anticipate to ship around 200 to 300 units a week. Please share your feedback with us once you receive the lock.
To get started with have made the following tutorial videos on how to set up your combination code inside the app and enter the combo code into the lock. We highly recommend that you go through the process of entering the combination code into the lock as soon as you register your lock.
We have already added regular username/password login system to the application. We are in the final stages of testing the login system and hopefully the new application will be released by Monday next week (April 27th). The main reason for Facebook login was to allow users to share access and location of their bikes with their friends on Facebook. After changing the Facebook login, we had to make some changes to support access sharing through email invitation.
All of the features are now stable on Android. We are doing our best to bring Android to Google Play by Monday, April 27th.
For Backer from San Francisco:
We are offering local pickup option to backer from San Francisco. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate a pickup time from our office at the following location:
We’d like to thank you again for your patience and your support during the past year. Based on the last update, we should have started shipping BitLock to you by now but an unfortunate turn of events caused further delays in the shipment of our container from the factory. The shipment left the factory in beginning of February but the ports in Taiwan were congested because of the Chinese new year, and the shipment was directed to Korea and from Korea to Oakland. Below is the tracking information provided to us by the shipping company:
The good news is that the shipment is finally arriving on April 11th (in 4 days). It may take a couple of days to clear shipment through the customs and release the container. We expect to begin shipping the first batch on April 15th.
The iPhone app is on App Store!
Our iPhone application was approved by Apple yesterday after a one month wait. We had to ship a sample hardware to Apple for reviewing both hardware and the application. We are still working on some features of the application such as activity and motion tracking leveraging Apple’s motion co-processor. This feature will come as an application update in the next release of the app.
To download the app, search for “BitLock” on App store or use the following link:
We are still testing the Android application on more devices. As of now we have tested the Android application on the following devices. We plan to ship the devices to backers who own the tested devices first and continue shipping as we test more popular devices:
Nexus 5, Nexus 6 (KitKat and Lollipop)
Samsung Galaxy S4, S4 Mini, A3, S5 (KitKat)
Motorola Droid Mini, Moto G, Moto X (KitKat)
HTC One M8 (KitKat)
Below is the final specifications of BitLock.
Steel U-bar thickness: 12.6 mm (0.5 inch)
Steel U-bar length: 218 mm (8.6 inch)
Steel U-bar width: 145 mm (4.5 inch)
Cross bar tube length: 196 mm (7.7 inch)
Cross bar tube diameter: 36 mm (1.4 inch)
3 lb 5 oz (1.5 Kg)
10,000 interactions (locks and unlocks) or 5 years (battery easily replaceable)
BackerKit survey and shipping fee:
1) Backer survey is being reviewed by the BackerKit team. The survey should be emailed out to you in about 2 days. Please provide your phone make and model in the survey so that we make sure the app is fully tested your phone before we ship BitLock to you.
2) You can add additional items to your pledge. As a token of appreciation for your support, we are offering 500 BitLocks at $89 price ($30 under our retail price) as an add-on exclusive to Kickstarter backers.
3) If you are based in US and have not already paid for shipping, you will be ask to add $15 to the total pledge amount. The shipping cost for domestic backers is lowered from the $20 amount to $15.
4) We will combine all items and the shipping cost will be flat rate for domestic backers.
5) For international backers, $10 will be added to the shipping cost for each add-on item.
Custom color BitLocks:
Due to complications in supply chain management, we were forced to assemble and ship the custom color BitLock separately. They are expected to get here in a few weeks, by early May. We are going to have these units shipped through air so that we don’t have to wait for ocean freight.
Please feel free to reach us at email@example.com