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Bia is the first multi-sport watch you'll love! Slim lightweight design. No-wait GPS. Plus a must-have safety alert for solo workouts.
Created by

Cheryl Kellond

2,118 backers pledged $408,160 to help bring this project to life.

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Hold Your Horses - and 200 Small Zebras

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This is a re-run of the backer update sent on Dec 7th. You can ignore it. We sent it out via email, but we wanted to archive it on Kickstarter as well. 

...i'm working on the next update right now....

#{project_title}'s video poster

I know. Lots of excitement this week with color and address verification. All waves of emails went out so if you haven’t received anything from us let us know (AFTER checking your alternate email addresses and spam box please).

This doesn’t mean we are through the weeds. It doesn’t mean our schedule is accelerating. We still have lots of work left to do. There are still a few gotchas that could sting us. But yes, even we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Define Amazingly Well Jen is en route home from China. The final 200 pre-production build went amazingly well, but not without a few hiccups:

Shake to Wake 

On Monday night we had a 1am firedrill.

In the factory we realized we couldn’t perform any electrical tests on the GoSticks. The line ground to a halt. Turns out “shake to wake” is an awesome feature on the GoStick … unless you need to wake up 30 of them locked into an immovable table-mounted test fixture. Doh! Yes we solved this. Before the factory team showed up to work the next day. And No, the fix did not involve a lawn mower engine or a vibrator even though both seemed like very good ideas around 3am.

Forget Duct Tape. Small Zebras Fix Everything 

On Tuesday we moved on to water resistance testing.

The Good News? We were getting 95% yield on our 50m water test (in this picture, #5 is leaking)

The bad news? 100% of the LCD’s were cracking when we hit 50m of pressure. Doh!

We tried carving out space in the watch case. We tried internal shims made of tape. We even called in our big-gun MechE advisors. Nothing was working. By Wednesday we were considering re-designing the user interface around the crack in the LCD (just joking - but only a little)

Then we noticed that the flexible connector that connects the LCD to the circuit board -- called a zebra connector -- was dented on the broken LCD's. Apparently our zebras were a smidge too big. A smidge = .2mm

Here's is what .2mm looks like. You can't even see it!

Smaller zebras solved a problem. We never even broke a sweat. (just joking)

One Big Screw and a Little Too Much Flow 

Then came Thursday.

This was the first time we had built GoSticks using plastic top-cases fabricated in our our new $12,000 GoStick mold. Up until now we were carving GoStick cases out of plastic blocks.

First, the screw holes in the cases were too shallow, Which means our 1.8 mm screws were a smidge too big (yes, .2mm again!). We also discovered that one of the flow marks that occur when the plastic is poured into the mold for the case was interfering with the water tight seal. We need to modify the tool and re-mold all 200 cases. Doh!

It's only a 4-day delay. Nothing that should impact our overall schedule. But annoying none the less. (Especially for all the field testers who have been waiting so patiently to get a Bia on their wrists.)

I already know there will be lots more to share next week, so as usual, back to work!

-- C2K & The Team

PS: A number of folks have asked about the custom team watchbands and the Betty Designs watchbands. Yes, those are still coming -- and they will be even better based on all we have learned so far about what works well for watchbands -- but not until AFTER we ship. I want all hands on deck to make sure we deliver the best core product possible first. Thanks for understanding.

Confessions, Code Freeze and a Contest

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The team was being funny. Spot the joke? 

A Confession

Last week, for the first time, I started to fall in love with my Bia.

Don't let this shock you. I am by far the harshest critic of our product. Combine it with the fact that I hate wearing jewelry of any kind and I run and ride and race for the pure joy of it all, and it's not a stretch to believe my bar for product delight is set VERY high. (Seriously, if it wasn't would I have ever had the need to embarke on this crazy mission?!?)

But last week it all started to come together. Improved bands, improved antenna, a host of nattering bugs fixed and I started to feel the magic I envisioned when we started Bia.

Here's is where I first fell in love....

We still have a plenty left to do. A few things I think will bring sheer delight to the Bia experience will trickle in after we ship. But we are close.

Code Freeze 

Our goal is to implement the most important features for launch by the time the build starts in Shenzen next Monday. This weekend we are rolling in two doozies:

  • GPS distance calculation on the device. Until now we were improving distance calculations on the server while the watch calculated and displayed junk. Porting these complex calculations down to GoStick is no easy task. 
  • Over the Air Updating (or OTA as all the cool kids call it). This is a huge victory for the team. It is insanely hard functionality to build. But what it enables is magic. OTA allows us to add improvements and new delight to your Bia long after it lands on your wrist -- all without your doing a thing. (no sync'ing, no plugging, no downloading)

A Contest: #MyPowerColor is__________ 

Help us #RockYourWrist by naming our colors for launch! Check out the details on Pinterest.

Inspire us with your creativity by answering a single question or creating a whole inspiration board.....If we choose your color name you'll get a RoadID giftcard as our thank-you.

One more thing....

Keep your eyes on your email box. We'll be confirming addresses and collecting color selections over the next 2-3 weeks. 

Back to work! 
C2K & The Team

Two Weeks till Two Hundred

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 Plane tickets are purchased!

It's been an ugly few weeks troubleshooting all the issues that come with higher volume production and molded plastic parts. 

The next two weeks are going to get even uglier as we  lock down the firmware with the final user interface and GPS tuning we want in place for large scale testing.

But Jen heads to China on Dec 2nd for our final pre-production build. We'll be producing 200 production-quality Bia's (with beta firmware) to put on the wrists of field testers, bloggers, and buying agents for some of our favorite retailers. We are SO excited.

CSI BIa

In addition to the high-profile issues we knew were gating our schedule, we've spent a good part of the past few weeks unraveling a particularly frustrating -- and unexpected -- thread of issues blocking GPS performance.

The problem only came to light as we rolled in the more sophisticated features like Quick Connect, Shake to Wake, and "Over the Air" Updating.

We literally beat our heads into the wall for a week until we found the root cause of our problem: a single microscopic diode, one of 600, was installed backwards. #shootme

Three Cheers for our Field Testers 

Finally I want to give a shout out to our field testers. I am pretty sure they thought they'd have a glamorous job. They were wrong!

We've sent them knowingly non-functional watches, impossible to push buttons, straps that rip, screens that blank out.....pretty much you name it, they are dealing with it.

But their contributions have been huge.

  • Through their testing we uncovered a weakness in our manufacturing process that had a direct impact on GPS reliability. We would have never detected the issue with lab testing.
  • We also had a big breakthough on the watch strap this past week - again because of their feedback.

The only downside of field testing is that we haven't been able to torture as many of you as we wanted. An unexpected feature delay by our vendor combined with a difficult technology decision on our end rendered about 90% of our test units obsolete at the end of the summer. We've reworked just enough to keep development moving forward full steam, but not enough to fulfill our original field tester plans.

Good news is that it won't be long before we have plenty of Bia's on wrists as we go into the home stretch before launch.

Back to work! 

C2K & The Team

PS: Did you get your #thanksplanking on today? If not, get at it. 2-minutes. Go!!!

This Update Will Make You Smile - Twice!

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Smile #1: Kona liked her momma's field test unit so much, she swiped it for herself.
Smile #1: Kona liked her momma's field test unit so much, she swiped it for herself.

Smile #2: We got some great news.

We can pull our final pre-production build in by two weeks!

We'll get final travel plans from China later this week, but instead of planning for mid-December travel we are clearing our schedules for Thanksgiving week!

I bet I can read everyone's mind right now: 
"Does this bump up our ship date up to December?"

No. Not yet.

There are some new assembly procedures we are rolling out during this next build to address issues we discovered during field testing. We don't yet know how these new processes scale or the effects they will have on yield. I'd rather be safe than sorry. So for right now current schedule of shipping in January still stands.

Back to work! 
C2K & The Team

*******

 PS: It's not too late to join us on Facebook and Twitter for #Thanksplanking: a month of gratitude and planksgiving...and probably lots of sweating and (grateful) cursing as we work our way up to the storied "5-minute plank". 

Check. And Check.

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We are wrapping up the weekend (see a snapshot of our Saturday morning) with some good news on the development front....so I just had to share.

Earlier this month we had 2 big known product issues we were wrestling with. We needed to confirm fixes to both of them by the end of the month to keep parts procurement for our final pre-production build AND our first production build (!!!) on track. 

We cleared one of them on Thursday and BOOM! we gave the thumbs up on the second today...a full week ahead of plan

We still have lots more work to do, but this is a big step forward.

Check it out.....

A GoStick that can survive a trip through the washing machine

 There is no great picture to illustrate 2+ years of battery life out of the watch, but here is how it all fits into our development schedule. Kickstarter *may* strip out the link to the "big enough to read" version of this schedule, but you can click through to it here: http://bit.ly/BiaMfgSkd

...and we are right back at it....

C2K and the Team