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Long-Range WiFi. Blazing Fast 11ac Speeds. Simple 3 minute setup. Built-in Smarthome hub. Exquisitely designed.
Long-Range WiFi. Blazing Fast 11ac Speeds. Simple 3 minute setup. Built-in Smarthome hub. Exquisitely designed.
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7,606 backers pledged $855,625 to help bring this project to life.

The current state of hardware, software and production schedule

Posted by SECURIFI (Creator)
13 likes

As we hope you’re all aware of by now, the Almond+ has been delayed due to a wide range of hardware and software changes. We know many of you are frustrated by this fact, but we also know that most of you want a product that you won’t have to replace after a year due to lacking hardware. 

The Almond+ is a unique product in many ways and we’re sure that is the reason why you backed this project in the first place. As such, we want it to be a product that lives up to the expectations from our backers. That said, we have a plan and things are progressing, albeit not quite as quickly as we’d hoped and this update will explain where we are today and what the plan is moving forward.

Hardware

As promised, below you’ll find pictures of the “new” Almond+ and as you can see from the pictures, it’s grown a little bit compared to our original design. There are several reasons for the change in size, but the two main reasons are an increased components count which required a slightly different PCB and improved Wi-Fi performance by being able to position the antennas better. 

If you look carefully, you’ll also notice that the Almond+ has gained a larger 3.5-inch screen. We felt the 2.8-inch screen that we initially planned to use would get a little lost considering the larger size of the Almond+ now and as such we decided to go for a 3.5-inch model. As an added bonus, the new screen also has a higher resolution of 480x320 pixels vs. 320x240 pixels of the 2.8-inch screen. This means that you’re getting nearly twice as many pixels which results in almost a 50 percent larger viewing area and a 15 percent higher pixel density. The end result of this is that it’ll be even easier to access the unique touch screen interface of the Almond+ and you’ll get a sharper looking display.

Moving to the back of the Almond+ you’ll also notice that we’ve re-designed the cooling. This is one of the parts that isn’t quite finished yet, but we’re hoping to be able to deliver what you see in the picture below. As we’ve moved quite a few components around, we’ve managed to fit a larger, but lower profile heatsink inside the Almond+. The reasons we decided to cover the heatsink was to provide both a sleeker design, but more important to prevent the heatsink from being touched, as it can get quite warm.

Looking at the ports, you’ll notice that we’ve swapped around the location of some of them. This is in part due to the addition of two USB 3.0 ports and part in due to the components changes that we’ve done.

Internally not much has changed from update #12 (sorry, backers only, but you can find the feature changes in the table below), so if you haven’t read it, we suggest you do so. We do have a lot of testing and tweaking to do still, but this is to be expected considering that this is the first iteration of a fairly complex design, but we’re confident that we can solve any issues that we might come across.

We’ve also designed a new accessory that will ship with the Almond+. As with the previous revision of the hardware, we’ll include a desk stand, but we’ve also made wall mounting a bit easier by supplying a wall mount bracket onto which the Almond+ clips on to. You’ll have the option to attach this to a wall either with an easy to remove double-adhesive tape or with screws.

Software

Things are progressing on the software side and as you can see from the pictures, we’ve got the software up and running on the customized PCB. We still have a lot of work that needs to be done here though and this is where the bear’s share of our efforts will be going in over the next few months until we start shipping units. Our first goal is to get a working platform for our developer and beta backers; this will be feature complete beta software.

As far as software features goes, at launch, the Almond+ will feature OpenVPN server, hardware based QoS, DLNA, UPnP, Samba and FTP support. We will of course also deliver the same kind of functionality that we’re offering on the Almond today, so expect to see support for repeater/range extender, Wi-Fi access point and WWAN support.

We’re also working on ZigBee and Z-Wave integration and this is progressing smoothly. We have an early Alpha version of our mobile app up and running on both Android and iOS, as well as a working version of our optional cloud service. The UI is far from finalized here, but basic features like notifications and control of sensors/devices is working.

For those of you that aren’t so keen on using a cloud based service to control your Almond+ over the internet, there will be an option to control your home automation devices via the NutsOS web GUI and of course, the LCD on the Almond+. This way, all your sensor data will be limited to the Almond+ and will not be hitting the internet, but it will of course be possible to connect over VPN to your Almond+ to gain access to your sensors and devices.

Judging by the feedback both here on Kickstarter and from the survey that many of you replied to, Windows Phone support seems to be a highly requested feature. It’s not something we’re going to be able to deliver at launch, but it’s something we’re considering as a post launch addition, but we don’t have any timeframe on when this would be available.

Our next update will include screenshots of the NutsOS UI running on the Almond+ as we’re still tweaking it and we felt it’s a bit too early to share it in this update.

Feature Freeze

Some of you have voiced concerns that we’re listening too much to our backers with regards to what kind of features and functionality that should be added to the Almond+. As such we also want to announce that we’re at a feature freeze point and that no new features will be added until each and every one of you have received your Almond+. We do of course want the Almond+ to be as good of a product as possible, but there comes a time when you have to stop developing and start shipping a product.

Production Schedule

As stated in update #12, due to the hardware improvements that we decided to do, we expected that the Almond+ would be about 3-4 months late. We know many of you are eager to get your hands on the product(s) you’ve backed and we fully understand that it’s frustrating to have to wait longer than expected on a product you have technically already paid for. As such we want to be frank with you when it comes to what we believe is a realistic timeframe for when we can deliver the Almond+ and sadly it looks like the very best we’ll be able to do in terms of delivery, will be at the very end of the four months delay.

In other words, we’re not expecting to be able to start shipping the Almond+ to our regular backers until the end of January 2014, with our Developer and Beta level backers getting their first unit and sensors come November. As you can see from the pictures, we have working hardware and software, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We hope to deliver a product that all of you will be proud to own and use on a daily basis and ultimately this is why we did the changes we did in the first place.

Summary

As this is a major update with a lot of information we thought we’d sum things up in slightly easier to digest bullet points below.

  • PCB and enclosure design is mostly done
  • First Almond+ PCB’s are back from the factory and are working
  • Slightly larger physical size than originally planned, due to hardware improvements
  • Some optimization still remains
  • No "new" features will be added from this point on
  • The Almond+ will ship with a 50% larger screen with twice the pixel count  
  • Two USB 3.0 ports will be included  
  • ZigBee and Z-Wave is working Mobile apps for Android and iOS are in Alpha stage alongside our cloud service  
  • Production schedule updated  
  • Estimated shipping end of January 2014 unless we have unforeseen issues

One last thing, please make sure your email address is up to date so that we can contact you. Some of you have non functioning email addresses and in these cases, we won’t be able to get in touch with you once it’s time to ship your products. Also make sure you add kick@securifi.com to your email whitelist so emails from us don’t get stuck in your spam filter.

Cheers

The Almond+ Team

Jagadiswar Jaggari, SECURIFI, and 11 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. William Baez on

      Best wishes to all! I am backer of the Red Almond+... any update on shipping dates? I have not received any emails asking for address confirmation. I dont want to miss out.

    2. Aryeh Goretsky
      Superbacker
      on

      Hello,

      Thanks for the update. I look forward to receiving my unit in a few months!

      Regards,

      Aryeh Goretsky

    3. SECURIFI Creator on

      @SMB Computing - Yes, we have something coming shortly.

    4. SMB Computing on

      Any further updates guys?

    5. Missing avatar

      Christopher Meier on

      Starting to remind me of the 3Com Audrey.

    6. David Floro on

      I know you said it's impossible to compatibility test all the Z-Wave/Zigbee devices against the Almond+ but if you're accepting nominations, I'd vote for the Schlage's Z-Wave Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt ( http://reviews.cnet.com/smart-home/schlage-camelot-touchscreen-deadbolt/4505-9788_7-35826970.html ) .Seems like a decent deal for ~$150.

    7. Crystal Rose on

      Good things come to those who wait. I'll opt for a second Almond+ in place of anyone who is backing out. Please contact me if this is possible and I'll get one of each color!

    8. SECURIFI Creator on

      @David - We'll add that once we've finished fine tuning the various radios, as only then we'll have a full picture of the power consumption. As far as cell modems are concerned, it's something we'll be adding support for, but it might not be present in the shipping firmware. That said, OpenWRT supports various 3G modems and it should be possible to add support via OpenWRT.

    9. Missing avatar

      David Hawley on

      Do you have any estimates on power consumption? Also, what's the difficulty of someone adding software to allow the router to use a usb cell modem for net access where there's no conventional (cable or dsl) network?

    10. Missing avatar

      hashish on

      @G Mack: We are not investing in a company otherwise would get a share of the company (i.e. securities) and possibly dividends based on the shares purchased. This is rewards based crowdfunding, so in return of our investment we are getting a reward rather than a share.

    11. Missing avatar

      Bao Nguyen on

      YEAHHHHHHHHH GOGOGO! Just a few more months :D QA the sh*t out of it so us end user don't have to :). Hit us up if you need help.

    12. Richard Chepeus on

      @G Mac I understand your comments but my point from a previous post is that, while I have always view my backing as a KS participant is not that of a purchase from a store but an investment in an idea or product that I want to help come to market. I've packed over 164 projects and in several cases there seemed to be this constant redesign going on until they had spent too much money on development or they created a design that could no longer be delivered at the reward levels that brought participants in and at the end of the day, the project failed. I don't want to see this happen with Almond+ and it concerns me when I see the project coordinators wanting to add features. Don't get me wrong, I and all for getting as many features in the device (in fact that is what drew me in based on the original design) but not at the expense of a failed project.

    13. Missing avatar

      G Mack on

      It's a good reminder to all that you're not buying a product--you're investing in a company.
      Kickstarter is an opportunity in this new age to market amazing ideas and give everyone a chance to grow a small business. This isn't a "$19.95 Blue Screen Commercial."

      If the product takes longer for them to put in hardware and software that exceed our expectations, then you're just getting something that's better than your original expectations.

      It's easier for smaller companies to make better quality products when they actually CARE about the quality more than the potential 20,000 employees scattered around the globe that larger name brands have to be concerned with. Kickstarter isn't for "bottom line" mindsets.

      As to the Securifi Team, great job on the transparency and regular updates! We're all anxious for whatever your final version will be. Keep up the great work!

    14. Brian Levinsen
      Superbacker
      on

      Yay for the bigger screen, I had kind of hoped you would go full size on the screen, this would make it possible to also function as a Digital picture frame. I suppose it is still possible with the 3.5" screen.

    15. Missing avatar

      Tim Botsford on

      I would like to add one more vote for Windows Phone 8 support. Thank you. I understand it would be added post release. I support Microsoft Windows products and thus need to continue with Windows Phone smartphones. :)

    16. Chris H on

      Any word on beamforming? Without external antenna ports that could make a big difference in real world performance for some users. As others have suggested, you won't have the "latest and greatest" hardware by the time this actually makes it to market. Hopefully the software will make up the difference.

    17. SECURIFI Creator on

      @Wayne - It should be possible to do it via OpenWRT

    18. Wayne Lwee on

      Will VLAN support be still in the improved Almond+?

    19. Missing avatar

      Alan Claver on

      Not much backers can do when the project goes insanely late (as this has done). Unfortunately I think we'll find that when we get ours in March (I don't believe Jan one bit) the router will be just another one of the pack. Already routers are out with faster speeds at both 802.11n and ac than Almond+ has planned.

      Oh well.

    20. Missing avatar

      Erik Tijburg on

      I agree with Paul. If you have canceled orders could backers get first crack at them.

    21. James Tang on

      The only thing that you have successfully done is make me want it even more. Forge On Amigo! I am glad I backed you guys.

    22. Missing avatar

      Lacrimae Maris on

      This is the first kickstarter project I have backed, but it won't be the only one. I'm very impressed with your company's transparency in this process. While the original ship date was a part of the reason I backed your product, it has become less and less so with the very informative updates. Thanks, guys.

    23. Missing avatar

      Paul Straker on

      I'll be very happy to buy an another router from the refunded ones... Please let me know.

    24. SECURIFI Creator on

      @Ari - Yes, that's the plan

      @Enamul - That's the idea, the Almond+ should be able to control any Z-Wave devices that the Verta 3 can control. That said, if you'd run into any issues, we'll work with you to resolve those, as it's simply impossible for us to test all Z-Wave and ZigBee devices currently available in the market.

    25. Missing avatar

      Enamul Khan on

      This seems like a dream "network center" to me - I have already decided where I will mount the beauty:-) Thanks for the comprehensive update. I just hope to receive a "hardware bug free" product - FW bugs can be addressed in later releases if needed. It would be very nice if this product can replace my Vera 3 controller as well (since I am not sure about the extent of the z-wave implementation).

    26. Don Martin on

      I'm waiting, the specs look top-notch. You'll sell a ton of these.

    27. Missing avatar

      lee perring on

      stupidly good update with regards to spec so I have always agreed with your decision to go with that... 4 months is nothing I am happy with a year :).

      In a way I am happy you did the change freeze to appease everyone else but I would have liked to see external antenna connections so we could improve the range :(.

      All the best guys... I have no issue with delays or slower progress so long as you keep us in the loop like you have done already! Great stuff guys!

    28. Sriram Sridharan on

      I wouldn't mind picking up a second Almond plus from the backers who want to opt out. I'm extremely satisfied with Securifi's progress with the Almond +.

    29. SabrWolf on

      I also wouldn't mind picking up a second Almond+.

      I'm very happy with the communications and the concerns SECURIFI has addressed. In each change, they have striven to get us the best product they could come up with. The Almond+ promised to be a top of line product that will consolidate a number of products in my home and I'm looking forward to it!

      Thanks, SECURIFI !

    30. Missing avatar

      Ari Check on

      I'm much happier with these updates. I was slightly concerned that the Almond+ was going to be under-powered compared to other AC routers on the market. I was getting it for the extra features mostly.

      Now it's unquestionable that this will be the best product on the market.

      I have a question too though. If I were to get a second Almond+ as an AP/range extender, can I still use the touch screen to control my features (such as automation, etc.)? Can one router act as a "slave controller" to the primary router for settings/automation/features?

      If not that would be a cool future feature. Either that or I'd definitely buy an accessory that acts similarly.

    31. Robert Fixer Smith
      Superbacker
      on

      I fully understand that we have reached feature freeze, but a question: are there exposed antenna terminals on the pcb in order to add aftermarket external antennas?

    32. Jörn Huxhorn
      Superbacker
      on

      I'm fine with the delay. The added value is easily worth the 4 additional months.

      The previously announced change to OpenWRT-compatible hardware is awesome in itself since it opens up the platform. So even if the proprietary Almond software sucks or isn't properly supported (which I don't think or expect) there would still be an exit strategy. That was a great move.

      I quite honestly don't understand why people even consider to demand a refund. Yes, waiting sucks. My current WLAN situation is quite suboptimal, too. I'd *love* to have the Almond already...

      But 4 months aren't a huge delay and we get faster CPU, bigger screen, double the RAM, four times the disk and support for more recent WLAN/USB standards. That's a bargain. <3

    33. Richard Chepeus on

      I have to agree with all those backers before me that you need to stop making modifications and get specs and design finalized and into production. I've backed several other projects that went down the road of constantly redesigning (and a more recent project that I'm starting have my concerns about) the product and now have completely disappeared with no hope of ever being able to deliver a product. My philosophy with technology products is that if you are always waiting for the latest thing you will be frozen into never taking the plunge as with the rapid changes that occur, there is always something new and better coming up. So PLEASE initiate a "feature freeze" and move forward.

    34. Missing avatar

      Jared Capson on

      Thanks for the open communication. That's what makes a kickstarter much more bearable when delays happen. If anyone wants out with their almond+, I'm also looking to buy another one.

    35. SECURIFI Creator on

      @Andrew - Yes, we'll be running a survey here on Kickstarter ahead of shipping the Almond+ so no worries, you'll be able to update shipping address and if you've pledged for one of the coloured models, you'll be able to change colour too. In case you've moved country, you'll also be able to update your pledge to get a unit for a different region if need be.

    36. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    37. Michael G on

      Appreciate the update. Feature freeze is a great idea at this point.

      And Windows phone? Made me laugh. Might as well add WebOS too.

      Best of luck on your progress!

    38. Achmad Fienan Rahardianto on

      this is great update!
      I don't mind with the delay, because the waiting will be paid off with bunch of features that I didn't expect at all :)

      Keep up the good work! :)

    39. Dash on

      I'll be glad to grab another router from refunded slot....

    40. SECURIFI Creator on

      @Jason - We will of course continue to improve our software and add software features over time, just as we've done with our current Almond which has gained a lot of features since it was launched.

      As for connecting other ZigBee or Z-Wave coordinators/gateways to the Almond+, yes, it will be possible, but you can only have one master controller, the other coordinators/gateways would end up working as glorified range extenders of sorts. This is something we're still testing and we'll be detailing this more in future updates.

      We can't comment on Wig Wag as they're using their own technology that doesn't seem to follow any specific standard. The Wig Wag hub should connect fine to the Almond+ via Ethernet or Wi-Fi (not sure what they use off hand), but beyond that, we can't really say.

    41. Ahmed on

      Thank you for the update. =) I'm more than satisfied with the reason behind the delays and Jan 2014 is right around the corner!

    42. Missing avatar

      Philippe on

      I'll buy a second router seeing that guy wants to cancel his, anyways I am not upset at all with the delays, I just want you guys to get it right, have a superior product, and technology keeps changing so it's important to try to have something that is better then anything out there or else no one would consider the almond+.

    43. SECURIFI Creator on

      @Chad - As the Almond+ will run OpenWRT in parallel with NutsOS, technically, anything that's possible with OpenWRT, should be possible on the Almond+, so I guess the answer to your question is a careful yes, at least as long as you don't mind fiddling with OpenWRT.

    44. Missing avatar

      mullender on

      Thanks for the update and photos!

    45. Jason DiOrio on

      Personally, I'm quite satisfied with the improvements and haven't found a project yet that didn't have a few schedule mishaps. USB 3.0 and 3x3 MIMO are especially welcome additions. The feature freeze is a good idea so we can get to production, though I'm hopeful that you will continue this fervor in updating the software once the product is released.

      I am curious about compatibility with other ZigBee/ZWave hubs. I know the standards are a little loose, but I'm seeking clarification on how things actually work, not so much asking you to make something happen. I also backed Wig Wag on here and it seems like their interface is going to be very useful for my purposes. I'm hoping sensors/outputs attached to each of these devices will be able to work well together (put the Wig Wag hub on one side of the house and the router on the other, make rules in either that use both). Do you *think* (no promise necessary) this will happen out of box? I'm sure with the platform being open the software can be made to work, I just don't have any experience with home automation products yet.

      Thanks for the update.

    46. SECURIFI Creator on

      @Brian - We fully understand the frustration, but please understand that the initial product wasn't one that we were happy with and we believe that neither would you have been. Some of the changes had to be done due to the fact that we changed the core hardware, others were included as we had so many requests from our backers for them. That said, from now on until we ship the Almond+, there will be no new features as per the update.

    47. Chad J Mac Donald on

      Great update! Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I'm getting by just fine with my current router, it's the home automation service provider I want to replace. Just some patience needed.

      Can you tell me if OpenVPN will also support client mode? (Not requesting new feature just asking for clarification) Thanks!

    48. MF Calub on

      @Almond+ Thanks for the update! I'm also glad that you made some improvements and a upgrade freeze. I know how frustrating it is to limit a product but resources and time are commodities that are short in supply. Either way, the product is ahead of all the others available at this moment so it is still a win situation for you and us, your backers.

      @Everyone: Relax. I understand your disappointment. We're all in the same boat. However, be glad for backing this product. What is the point of KS anyway? To help non-giants get a product to the market? That's only a small part, I think. For me, it is to help break the status quo. I look at the long term impact.

      Think on this, you will undoubtedly get a Smart Router 2.0 at a price point that is ridiculously low. This product will shake the pricing and abilities of current routers. If enough demand is made, other manufacturers will be forced to upgrade and lower their price point. End result is that next Gen routers will be more advanced and even better. Let's shake the market guys. Be patient. As an entrepreneur and developer, I understand how frustrating it is to be limited by time and resources. You want to add so many things to make your product the best there is but time and resources limits what you can roll out so you end up choosing between functionalities of what you can roll out by a certain time. That is a painful process.

      Almond+ is now at that stage. They are now forced to freeze all other ideas. That is painful. I've experienced it myself. I hate rolling things out that doesn't have all the functionalities I want. However, that is reality. You can't get everything.

      Hang in there everyone! Let's help Almond shake up the market and get the market to move to Smart Router 2.0. In another year or so we'll see them adding functionalities Almond+ started. Then we can see even more innovation.

    49. BruceP - Chameleon Prime
      Superbacker
      on

      Great update. I like the looks of all those improvements. :) Waiting until 2014 sucks, but it's not unexpected. Keep it up!