The smartwatch is a product still in its infancy. We like to say that it takes a leap of faith on the part of any consumer to purchase such a new and mostly unproven device in the hope that it meets their expectations.
Unfortunately, gadget freaks like you and I can’t help ourselves. The allure of being an early adopter of ground-breaking technology is simply irresistible. Naturally, we often turn to crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo, searching for that next big thing.
As it turns out, contributing to a crowdfunding campaign also constitutes a leap of faith. There’s no way of being certain that everything there is on the level.
So, investing in a crowdfunded smartwatch represents a double leap of faith, or, in other words, a pretty risky maneuver. And this is what investors in the Kreyos Meteor are discovering in a painful way.
The Kreyos Meteor was an enticing prospect. Billed as “the only smartwatch with voice and gesture control”, it was supposed to be a waterproof smartwatch with seven days of battery life. The campaign caught fire on Indiegogo, raising $1.5M when the goal was only $100,000. With the extra money raised, the Kreyos Meteor people promised new stretch goals including a gaming platform and sleep tracking.
The crowdfunding campaign began in July 2013. The company promised that its early supporters would receive their watches by November 2013. The suspicions began when that promise was not met.
In fact, the first Kreyos Meteor smartwatches didn’t begin shipping until July 2014. As of this writing, the company has yet to ship to its first 5,000 customers.
The real problems lie within the watches that have already been shipped. They are certainly not the product that was originally promised. Most observers are calling it “garbage” or they’re offering somewhat less elegant descriptives.
Supposedly waterproof to 5 meters, the Kreyos Meteor apparently can’t survive a shower. Its seven-day battery life is more like 24 hours. The built-in pedometer doesn’t work. The gesture controls don’t work. The device’s storage will only allow a single app at a time. None of the stretch goals have been met. Here’s the best, or worst, fail of all: users are reporting that the watch fails to keep time unless it maintains its Bluetooth connection to the smartphone.
The company is backpedaling on its refund policy, leaving a wake of unhappy backers who are realizing they’ve been taken to the cleaners. Meanwhile, one of the company’s founders, Steve Tan, recently deleted a Facebook photo showing him with a brand new Ferrari (pictured).
All in all, a cautionary tale for all of us who will always love the latest gadgetry. Be careful out there.