Update #8 – Two steps forward, One back.
These product samples are not Type C, since we wanted to verify the big dealbreakers like keycap color matching, surface finish, and overall build quality for our new manufacturer. We could have waited another few weeks to have our initial samples be Type C, but in the interest of speeding up development we thought this was a better route.
These samples didn’t meet all our expectations, but they were super close! The main things that weren’t done correctly were extremely small details like choice in screw selection and a mistake in the flashing process that binds a keymap to a keyboard. The biggest issue we noticed that isn’t fixed by a simple part substitution is that the red keys for the NightFox are a touch bright, but the dark grey / black keys are extremely color accurate. We will be requesting two revised reds that are a small amount darker and a bit warmer. However, we are very confident that the partner we chose can produce the entire order. After further discussion, we learned that the reason the screws weren't perfect was because they needed to be custom made, and we had requested a very fast timeline.
We also have encountered some unexpected push-back from one of our former partners, Massdrop, on the topic of the Halo switches. We (Input Club) developed and invented the Halo switches, and worked with Massdrop to finance the physical tooling that allows them to go to mass production. We assigned Massdrop the patent rights in exchange for a royalty and a “license-back” that we believe allows us to source the switches for use in keyboards. But when we tried to order switches for the WhiteFox/NightFox, Massdrop would not let us source them. They then claimed to own the “Halo” name and asked us to give up the license-back altogether, so we would essentially lose all access to our own invention. This is very confusing for us at Input Club, as we are mostly a team of engineers and are not used to dealing with people who act in this manner. Unfortunately, we don’t have any more information right now as to how the situation will unfold.
Fortunately, we work very closely with our factory and suppliers and were able to discuss the best path forward. Many words were shared, but essentially the discussion concluded with us needing to develop a brand new switch in order to meet our commitments on the WhiteFox keyboard. This process will take approximately 5 weeks to get ready for production, and within that timeline we can still plan on fulfilling in December 2017 (though it may be late December!). These switches will still be 100% Cherry MX compatible and designed by us, but will be visually different from the older switches pictured below.
To summarize: Everyone in the campaign that chose Halo Switches will be getting a superior product without having to contribute more money, and while it is going to cost us quite a bit extra to produce, we’re optimistic it won’t increase the timeline.