We have put up our latest version of Hey Pal phone app (both IOS and Android versions) at app stores recently. The latest version has included the GPS data export (GPX) function. You may now export an exercise record to a third party exercise/sports record platform like Strava. The new version has also fixed the record delete function.
Earlier we have also put up a new version of Pebble Hey Pal watch app which has added 1) km/mile selection and 2) GPS/GLONASS system selection.
Hope the refined versions have address need and request by many of you.
Many of you have received Pal by now. For those who are still waiting, the shipments are reaching the last mile. Please be patient.
We have heard feedbacks and questions in first time using Pal. Most common problems faced are 1) “STATUS stays red” and 2) “GPS is SEARCHING forever”. These situations can be rectified with some start-up steps taken. We have addressed them in the comment column. We have also put them up on the FAQ page at our website (www.palstrap.com/FAQ). I outline them here as well:
1) Be reminded to fully charge Pal before use. Pal’s battery level is low now as it has left factory more than a month. Charge it for 4 hours. You may charge it alone or together with Pebble. Too low battery may not power up the strap (“Status” remains red) or may not effectively activate GPS module - “Searching” forever can be due to low power as well.
2) You need open sky to start using GPS. Open sky means clearance above 30 degrees elevation. You’ll probably get open sky in the middle of a football field or big park. In downtown Manhattan you can hardly find an open sky. Weather (sunny, cloudy or light rain) is less relevant. See video (https://youtu.be/CVx-58BbAhE ) we demonstrate our environment and steps to start GPS.
GPS needs stronger signals and from more satellites to compute the initial position, hence open sky is needed. Once it has location fixed, tracking can work even without open sky (i.e. outdoor will do). For more information related to GPS location fix, please refer to the FAQ page.
3) Simply reset Pal if needed. In case you still have problem with Pal, simply reset it by removing it from Pebble for 10 seconds then put it back on. Reset would reboot the MCU of strap but does not erase any memory log.
About app improvement:
Many users have requested GPS export function. Our app developer is working on it. The next app update in few weeks’ time should have GPS export function included. Some of you have reported bug related record delete function. It will be fixed too.
Backers in some countries have report import duty or custom clearance charges. I am sorry that we are unable to cover related cost as import rules and regulations vary from countries.
Our shipment schedule slipped. Due to one component delay 3 weeks ago, production hasn’t finished per what I announced last month. The latest schedule I worked out with the factory is 8 May. On that day, all processes, including factory quality inspections shall be all done and in full quantity, and the Pal team will conduct a final acceptance and endorse the goods for shipment. I apologize for the delay again. The factory and I were over-confident on the schedule and gave you false expectation.
1) We have just sent out emails to some of the backers. Per feedback from our logistics service provider, we cannot process non-alpha numeric characters (such as Asian characters or symbols) in the delivery address. We need the concerned backers update their delivery info to us.
2) We will send emails to some of you who has given only PO Box address. Pure PO Box address doesn’t work as some local delivery service may require signature from receiver. You will need to give us physical delivery address for delivery.
3) We are also removing accent of alphabets in some of your addresses. This is to avoid unrecognized characters when compiling the delivery info. Per our logistics service provider, modified alphabets are OK for delivery.
We have resolved few major bugs in the past 3 weeks, including one leading to operation instability related to Pebble smartstrap API weak spot. Special thanks to the developer Ish Ot Jr who volunteered to run field trial and look into our software bugs.
Below please find screenshots of Pal phone app showing GPS tracked route with our field trial data in Hong Kong today.
We have been cautiously testing the improved 1st production
batch for more than 2 weeks. The result is so far so good. The weak adhesion and bad contact with charging cord is resolved. The entire structure is now sturdier with
improved water resistance. GPS
performance is stable and reliable. The
evaluation has not completed yet as some reliability tests are still going on. Despite that, we have confidence in the
hardware and we are proceeding to the mass run.
Production should complete in 3 weeks if no problem pop up during then.
In parallel, we are pushing hard to finalize the Pal watch app and fix remaining
bugs. We are also rushing to complete
the Android and IOS phone App. Recently
we found bugs related to Pebble’s smartstrap API -- Pebble sometimes couldn’t
quit smartstrap mode after using Pal. In that case Pebble would drain its own battery and affects other application. Nevertheless, we are working with the Pebble
(Fitbit) team as well as the experts in the Pebble community to look into the
bugs. We shall fix all them in time.
About logistics: We are sending
out mailing address confirmation emails these few days. Please note the email will not be sent through
the Kickstarter system but from our work email address. Please check your email from time to time and
let us know any correction as soon as possible.
We shall pass our mailing list to the logistics service provider in
In the coming week, we shall invite few backers in Hong Kong to try out the
strap from our 1st production batch.
We shall share the news afterwards.
We are back from the CES exhibition. Pal strap did catch some very good attention from the public. A lot of Pebble users stopped by and had a chat with us.
We are honored to meet a few Pal backers during the show, thank you for stopping by and meet with us! We appreciated all your feedback and encouraging words.
As mentioned, the Pal straps that we brought to the show are the first production samples. They were made virtually 24 hours before we flew off to the show. We are pretty happy with its physical outcome and finish. However, we did find a few issues from these production samples and we must fix them for mass production:
The connection of the charging cord to Pal is not stable. A slight elevation of the contact face is needed to maintain a sturdy magnetic adhesion and electrical contact.
There is a weak point in the circuit board which causes high yield loss when the cradle is assembled. Modification of circuit board is needed.
These issues are normal from production samples’ point of view and are not tricky. We have been aggressively planned that our first production lot should be good for delivery. We regret to tell you that perhaps we were over-confident with this first lot. We are fixing the issues now and we estimate delivery will be in March. It is much deferred mainly due to the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays starting next week and in China, factories will be closed as workers typically take leaves for 2-4 weeks for the holidays. Unfortunately, the long holidays are out of our control.
We sincerely apologize for the further delay, we will keep working hard to reach the destination, and surely will continue to keep you all posted.
Thank you again for all your support and patience, and most importantly, sticking with us.