Logistics, Lenses and Test Builds
While we're not ready to start shipping out Pebbles yet, getting prepared to ship Pebbles to 113 different countries has been quite a task. Okay, just one of you lives in French Polynesia but we care deeply about all our backers. That's why we've been running extensive shipping tests to determine the best methods to use as we ship out 85,000 Pebbles. All the test shipments reached their destination. Outside of a postal strike in Uruguay, we found that our test shipments reached their destination even faster than we expected. We also learned some important lessons about all the different customs documentation requirements around the world.
There's absolutely no point in designing and building the most awesome watch possible if it doesn't reach your wrist in perfect condition. That's why we designed a custom shipping box to protect your Pebble while it's in transit. We're battle-testing the box to make sure it stands up to drops, spills, rips and maybe guard dog attacks (okay, we're not actually running that last test).
We'll be shipping Pebbles from two distribution centres: one in Asia and one in the United States. If your shipping address on account.getpebble.com is in the US, your Pebble will be shipped via USPS from San Francisco. Otherwise, our international backers will receive their Pebbles via postal mail sent directly from Asia. As our test shipment backers can attest, we've put together an extremely efficient and quick system.
Our industrial designer was on the ground this week in Southern Taiwan overseeing final modifications (T4) to our plastic manufacturing process. As I mentioned in Update 21, we're working our way through several test builds before Pebble enters Mass Production (MP). Every time we perform another test build, it's a chance to build samples of each part inside the watch. The great news is that all the plastic components (including the most recent lens samples from T4) look, feel and work great. We're sending the tools off for final texturing and polishing now.
As we work through environmental tests, we're tweaking and tuning the gluing process that is used to join the main case portion of the watch with the lens. Here's a short video of the computer numerical controlled (CNC) gluing machine that we're using on the assembly line:
I'm heading to our factory in Dongguan, China on Saturday for 2 weeks of work on the Design Verification (DV) test build. After DV, we have one more test build scheduled in December called Production Verification (PV) before Pebble enters Mass Production (MP). As I mentioned in Update 17, our assembly line will be set up to manufacture 15,000 Pebbles per week. I know each one of you has a burning desire to see Pebble on their wrist, but I want to caution you that even after we begin MP it will still take us several weeks to manufacture all 85,000 Pebbles.
Work on the software development kit (SDK) is progressing well. Since I'm a novice programmer, I decided to test out the SDK and see what the experience is like. I wanted to write a little watchapp to keep track of important Pebble-related timezones while I was in China. While the software team is still working heavily on the SDK, I was still able to code up a basic world clock in 20 minutes! I know it doesn't look too pretty, but that's a function of my limited programming ability, not a fault with the SDK.
As usual, you can find high resolution versions of all the photos in this update at http://imgur.com/a/mLJzW.
That's all for this week, thanks Pebblers!
Eric + Pebble Team