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The ZX Spectrum reborn: a new machine, fully compatible with the original computer, and packed with improvements and expansions.
The ZX Spectrum reborn: a new machine, fully compatible with the original computer, and packed with improvements and expansions.
3,113 backers pledged £723,390 to help bring this project to life.

A short update and a Crash shoutout

Posted by Henrique Olifiers (Creator)
80 likes
Crash #100
Crash #100


 

Before we go onto the news, wanted to give some friends a shout-out for the Crash #100 Edition right now on Kickstarter. If the wonderful previous edition is anything to go by, you would be barking mad not to jump on the campaign and back it right away: there are only 6 days left to do so! Click here and back it!
 

The short update

This will be our most frustrating update yet. The reason for the radio silence of late (there should have been an update two weeks ago) is because we were due to get big news on the keyboard on September 22nd, thus why we held posting. After all, the keyboard is the very last thing between us and shipping, there’s very little to report other than tiny items.
 

The plot thickens...
The plot thickens...


 

For unknown reasons, our partners taking care of the keyboard missed the deadline, and we’re still waiting for them to forward information on how it’s all coming together. They have been working over the weekend -- particularly important since next week is a week-long holiday in China, where the keys injection is taking place (although they’re headquartered in the UK)

There are three points we’re waiting to confirm before the greenlight for the keyboard:
 

1. The membrane composite keys ensuring Caps Shift is always pressed first

If you have been following our updates closely, you will recall we’ve ditched the original Sinclair solution of having three layers on the keyboard matrix and adopted a two-layered approach to ensure the pressure needed for a keypress to register remains low, comfortable. In order to use two layers, the composite keys (arrows, delete, any keys that require Caps Shift + a key) have their contacts made of two halves. This works well, but if there’s anything that causes the membrane to deform (say, a heatwave or a speck of dust) and makes the wrong half of the two halves to become more raised, it means the key half will be ‘pressed’ before the Caps Shift half, resulting in the wrong order of pressing to achieve the composite result (so, instead of a Right Key we get an 8). Thus we are making the Caps Shift half slightly raised by 0.3mm, ensuring it is always pressed first before the other half is pressed.
 

Lab reports progress, sir!
Lab reports progress, sir!

2. Keys print quality

Although we’ve been assured there shouldn’t be any problems with the printing on the keys, we wanted to confirm all is well since the surface of the keys is not flat, but inverse domed like the original Spectrum+, 128 and QL. We’re particularly keen to see the keys with a lot of printing on them, such as the numbers with the graphics symbols and Delete.
 

3. Key injection quality

This is the most ‘safe’ part of the process, but still has to go through the keen eye of Phil to ensure all is well via injected plastic samples. They should be ready by now... Lastly, when the keyboard is assembled, we got to put it into the case samples to confirm all dimensions are perfect (although we never had any failure of dimensions during the entire project, everything just fit first time).

What happen next? We hope that while the UK HQ enjoyed the weekend, the Chinese subsidiary was full on at work as agreed, thus we should have news and images to share in the next couple of days. As soon as we get the information we’ll post an extra update to keep you abreast of how things are progressing.

We’re deeply sorry and disappointed with this delay… Internally, we expected to be shipping by now in the worst case scenario, the keyboard really threw us off track. All other bits of the project are lined up, just waiting for the keys to make their appearance at last.
 

A bit of proper red

Since the last updated featured a case with a glitter-red logo on it (don’t ask), here’s the correct red applied to the logo as it should be. ;)
 

I'm seeing red!
I'm seeing red!


 

Stay tuned -- we’ll should have good news shortly and move ahead with the project!


Comments

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    1. ET3D on

      @Nathan Cross, all I meant was to point out that when you said "we were being told that the shipping date was just around the corner", that was bad perception on your part.

      I understand your disappointment, but there was nothing on that update indicating that a ZX Spectrum Next will be making its way shortly to you, and quite a bit to say that it will take some time. "Hoping too see ... in a couple of months" for the case is an indication that it will take more than a couple of months for a complete system.

      There's not much reason to doubt the team. They have already shipping a board, which works fine, has a working UI, has pretty much everything they promised (and more). That's the hard part. Getting the case and keys perfect might be a challenge, but I see no reason to doubt the ability of the team to deliver.

      I back a lot of projects, many at a token level (like this one) and others at higher levels. They are almost always late; often very late (I got one after about 4 years). Most do get released, though sometimes not in the exact form promised. That's part of the risk of crowdfunding.

      This particular team is IMO one of the best around. Great communication, proof that they can deliver (in the form of the boards), obvious love and care for the product. From everything they post, they look professional and dedicated, the kind of team I'd hire if I needed something done. I believe that they're going to get this product done and that it would be good, and you'd be happy with it. I know you're not happy with the delay, and you'll be left with some sour taste in your mouth, but I hope that owning a Next will make you happy enough to forgive the team for the delays.

    2. Nathan Cross on

      As expected, the people who like paying for long waits are loose...

      @ET3D: "We're hoping to see the Next full case in the flesh in a couple of months" - I don't know why anybody would expect that to mean "You're not going to see a Next for well over a year". In fact, your comment on that particular update indicates that you "only made a token pledge, because I'd never use this product". If you're not expecting to get anything then I can understand why you're happy to wait!

      @Philip Stephens: "I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that the cased Next will never ship after all the updates explaining where they are in the process" - I'm basing it on A) the delivery date being missed with no new date in sight and B) amongst many others, the STEM System Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/89577853/stem-system-the-best-way-to-interact-with-virtual/updates - funded in 2013, and about 90 updates telling backers how something had gone wrong with the plastics and there's been a slight redesign so sorry guys, another delay... There's a lot of similarities with that one, and plenty of Kickstarters go that way. This one isn't special - there's nothing preventing it from failing.

      @Marek Szulen: Just... wow. This is not a family(!), this is a group of people who've thrown money at a convincing sales pitch. I just wanted an unusual computer - I have no desire to join your cult.

      To those of you suggesting I sell my pledge because I don't have enough faith; I would find passing off a dead loss to someone else - even someone with more religious fervour than I can muster - to be rather unethical. I know that'll disappoint those of you hoping to excommunicate me, but there we are.

    3. Option 4 Studios on

      Quality over meeting artificial deadlines is better. Does anyone really need their Next urgently? But yeah, if anyone is unhappy do sell on your pledge.

    4. Missing avatar

      Will Stephenson on

      I'm a little unsettled by these late engineering changes to the keyboard membrane. It would be painful to have a beautiful Next with a keyboard that becomes unreliable a few months down the line. While this change is obviously necessary, please don't succumb to perceived schedule pressure, and please perform full durability testing on these composite keys before going to mass production. I can wait.

    5. Marek Szulen on

      Guys, thank you for the update. Keep going! Shit happens and there's usually nothing we can do about that. We will wait. No worries :)And to those whinning ones - you should be aware, that backing the kickstarter project you do not buy in the shop. You support a project that might not go well. Anyway, in this case - I'm totally sure we will get our machines soon. However, if you're still negative and don't want to be the part of this family - there are numerous people waiting for a chance to buy Next. You can sell your pledge. Win-Win.

    6. ET3D on

      @Nathan Cross, in Update 18 we were told that boards will ship shortly, and they did ship (have a look at Update 23). We were also told: 'We're hoping to see the Next full case in the flesh in a couple of months', indicating that a full Next is far from being released. So your interpretation of the events doesn't really match reality.

      Delays are a standard problem with Kickstarter projects, and of all complex technical projects in general, and is obviously disappointing, but I see nothing in the team's communication to indicate that you will not get a Next.

    7. Philip Stephens on

      @Nathan: I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that the cased Next will never ship after all the updates explaining where they are in the process, but feel free to offer to sell your pledge to someone who actually will appreciate getting a cased Next. There are plenty of those people around.

    8. Missing avatar

      Jamie Dienes on

      Thanks for keeping us informed. It’s better to have news explaining delays than no news at all.

    9. Nathan Cross on

      "Estimated delivery Jan 2018"

      It's now Oct 2018. Just over a year ago, back in Update 18, we were being told that the shipping date was just around the corner.

      There is a loud contingent of people that are happy to have no money and no Next. I am not one of them, and I suspect I am not alone.

      I no longer believe that I'm going to get a Next. I look forward to the next 18 updates, each with another totally plausible reason why the shipping date has slipped again.

    10. Marc M. Kloosterman on

      Compared to the previous update, the Sinclair logo looks perfect! No more mould imprints or other strange artifacts like last time. Phil fits the bill :D
      I'm sure the keyboard will be equally superb.

    11. Steven Leicester on

      Rather have the keyboard perfect, and as expertly scrutinised by the team as every other aspect of the project has been - than a last minute 'rush to market', and afterwards people saying the keyboard wasn't bang on. Thanks for the update.

    12. Toni "Zzap! Italia" Bianchetti on

      I was really feeling an update was coming and here it is. Yes a bit annoying another delay but we are all aware you’re really pushing for quality. Keep on the good work

    13. Simon Sorlie-Pring on

      Thank you for another informative update, whilst delays are always disappointing... Your detailed updates keep us informed of the progress being made and I hope I speak for all Backers in saying we are behind you all the way. Can't wait to get my hands on my next, all in good time to the best spec it can be 😊