SPUD Update: Engineering Validation Test (EVT) Results

Hello SPUD Backers!

We are grateful for your continued support! The SPUD Engineering Validation Test (EVT) is complete. We learned a great deal over the last month, and while we did hit a couple of bumps along the way, overall the results have been very positive! The results are summarized below, including the high level EVT results, and SPUD chassis pics, and the remaining manufacturing schedule. 

Manufacturing Update / EVT Results

The EVT was focused primarily on the SPUD chassis and specifications across a variety of test conditions. For the first time, the units were built to include all final shipping features, including USB-C power/charging, battery LED indicators, built-in stereo speakers, volume control buttons, on-screen volume level indicator, brightness dial, and tripod mount. Here’s a high-level summary of how the units performed: 

  • System Power, minimum brightness: PASS
  • DLP Voltage, minimum brightness: PASS
  • System Power, maximum brightness: PASS 
  • DLP Voltage, maximum brightness: PASS 
  • USB-C Power input: PASS 
  • USB 5V output: PASS 
  • Battery power: PASS 
  • Battery indicators: PASS 
  • Speaker voltage: PASS 
  • Volume on-screen display: PASS 
  • 8-hour temperature monitoring, LEDs: PASS 
  • 8-hour temperature monitoring, DLP: PASS 
  • Fan voltage: PASS 
  • Fan speed: PASS 

In other words, the SPUD units passed all required EVT functional tests! We couldn’t have asked for better results, and we’re very excited to start the next build of the complete SPUD system. Check out the pictures below! 

 
The final chassis design, with fully functional buttons, dials, inputs, and outputs.

The final chassis design, with fully functional buttons, dials, inputs, and outputs.

 
 
The back of the chassis, with power button, USB-C power input, HDMI input, and USB 5V output. Note the working battery level indicators in the picture on the right!

The back of the chassis, with power button, USB-C power input, HDMI input, and USB 5V output. Note the working battery level indicators in the picture on the right!

 
 
Let’s not forget about the highly requested tripod mount!

Let’s not forget about the highly requested tripod mount!

 

 

Schedule Update

After reviewing the EVT results, we have unfortunately run into a couple of issues that will impact schedule. These include: 

  • Production mold delay: We made some changes to the final mold due the EVT results; specifically we updated the vent and focus-wheel locations, and we made design changes to the mount of the custom optics and the brightness dial. As we shared in the last update, the purpose of EVT is to catch changes, like these, that we need to make before going forward with the final production molds. The change puts our production on hold until we receive the final molds, which impacts the schedule by ~3.5 weeks. 

  • Compliance certifications: SPUD is made up of a LOT of different types of materials relative to most other products being mass manufactured, including the retractable arms, fabric shroud, custom optics, collapsible screen, protective cover, plastic chassis, and electronics. Each of these components has its own unique certification requirements, and the complete SPUD system must also be certified. Our original schedule was based on the more “standard” type of product our manufacturer has built in the past, which did not capture the additional complexity of the different types of SPUD components that we encountered when we started to engage the certification labs. The additional time needed for compliance is ~3 weeks. 

The good news here is that the delay was not caused by a fundamental issue with our design, and once we receive the molds we can immediately move forward with the DVT/PVT manufacturing phase. See the image below for an updated timeline from our manufacturer for expected shipment (click the image for a more readable version). Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or need any clarification! We are going to continue to be transparent, with increased updates as we complete DVT/PVT and move towards mass production and getting you your SPUD. We are as excited as ever for you to be one of the first people to ever have a collapsible display! 

 
 

 

We have also made a small schedule change to our rollout strategy to better streamline the release process and guard against potential risks. This change will help to protect our schedule from further slips by allowing us to receive some initial feedback sooner. We will be kicking off early SPUD backer testing, where we will select ~30 backers to receive their SPUDs in early September. These users will agree to: 

  • Meet with us BEFORE opening the SPUD package and allow us to film the unboxing process. 
  • Meet with us again after one week of use, and share their experience so we can integrate the feedback.

These 30 backers are the final “gate” in our manufacturing process… We will only move forward with final production if they are happy with their SPUD. By running these customer tests earlier than originally planned, we’ll have more time to make small changes based on feedback. We will be reaching out to backers soon based on location (we would like to be close enough to meet in person). 

Summary of Schedule Changes

  • Initial 30 "test" orders target: September 4, 2017
  • Updated ship target: October 24, 2017 (plus shipping time to reach you)

 

Price Increase for New Pre-Orders

Finally, as we approach our release date, we are quickly running out of the limited supply of our initial build quantity of 2000 with 1900 SPUDs pre-ordered (including yours). We will be increasing the pre-order price from $399 to $449 starting on Tuesday, August 1st, meaning there’s about 1 week left to get the 20% discount. If you know someone that would love to grab one of the few remaining $399 discounts, tell them that now is the time to pre-order! (http://www.arovia.io/preorder/spud-spontaneous-pop-up-display) 

 

Getting to this final version of the hardware has been such an amazing journey, and your support made it possible! Every day we get closer to sending you your SPUD, and successfully passing the EVT milestone puts us on the home stretch. We are more determined than ever to finalize and release SPUD. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of initial supporters… Thank you backers!!! 

Warmest regards, 
Alex, George, Justin

SPUD Update: Schedule, Manufacturing, and Color Samples

Hello SPUD Supporters!

We've been hard at work getting SPUD ready to ship... it's time for an update! This is a long one, so we'll start with the summary:

Summary

  • Still targeting August 2017 release
  • Major milestone coming up: EVT complete by late June
  • MHL survey results posted
  • New cover samples give you a sneak peek at the black/titanium color options
  • Listen to Alex discuss Kickster on the "What Will You Creaate" podcast

Schedule

We get asked the “When will I get my SPUD?” question the most, so we’ll start there. We’re happy to report that we’re still estimating an August 2017 release, and we’ve been working closely with our manufacturer to stay on target. Of course, this comes with the standard disclaimer that this is still an estimate and subject to change as we go through the manufacturing process. If anything does impact our schedule moving forward, we will send out another update as soon as possible! 

Manufacturing

The SPUD manufacturing process follows the standard product development schedule. Our next major milestone is our manufacturing Engineering Validation Test (EVT), scheduled to complete by late June. The EVT is a critical step for any manufactured product, as it will be the first manufacturing build that uses production-ready materials and goes through the manufacturing process. This will allow us to analyze specification variations across multiple SPUD samples and verify device functionality. In short, the EVT confirms we can build them, they work as expected, and we haven’t missed any major design flaws across our numerous prototypes. We’ve been working up to this milestone for months now, and we are super excited that we’re only a few weeks away! 

Click the image below for a great in-depth explanation of the full product development process from www.bolt.io:

 
Image source: http://blog.bolt.io

Image source: http://blog.bolt.io

 

MHL Update

Last update we asked you to tell us if MHL support is important to you. Thank you everyone who responded to our survey! Since MHL is a technology that appears to be fading out (it was common in 4+ year old smartphones), we weren’t surprised to see the vast majority you did not need MHL support: 

 
 

MHL, or Mobile High-Definition Link, is a standard for a mobile audio/video interface commonly used to connect a mobile device to an HDMI input. MHL source devices connect to display devices either directly through MHL-enabled HDMI inputs, or through an MHL-to-HDMI adapter to standard HDMI inputs. While our original SPUD prototype did have an MHL-enabled HDMI input, changing to a standard HDMI input will allow us to support display scaling, which we believe (and our survey appears to confirm) is a much more important feature. 

For users who absolutely need MHL support, you can still connect an MHL device to SPUD, but you will need to connect through an MHL-to-HDMI adapter. Please let us know if you are one of these users by completing the survey (if you have already done so, then we have your info, no need to resubmit!). We’ll make sure that each and every one of our backers gets set up correctly! Not sure if your mobile device supports MHL? Check the list of mobile devices that support MHL on the MHL website. 

First Color Samples

Here’s a sneak peek at our two SPUD cover samples, and the first glimpse of the real-life titanium color. We’re still making some tweaks, but these samples give a great view of the overall SPUD look and feel with the Arovia logo on it. Another step closer to release!! 

 
 

Podcast Fame! 

Finally, Alex was a special guest on the “What Will You Creaate” podcast, “Kickstarting a Kickstarter” episode. It explores 3 different successful Kickstarter campaigns (including SPUD, of course) and gives a great overview of the thought/prep process behind these campaigns. Check it out here: 

 
http://creaate.co/will-creaate-3-kickstarting-kickstarter/

http://creaate.co/will-creaate-3-kickstarting-kickstarter/

 

We will continue to keep you updated, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Please share our website (http://arovia.io) to anyone you think might be interested in a pre-order discount! We are grateful for all your help in bringing SPUD to life and are very excited to get you yours! 

Sincerely, 

 
Justin

Justin

George

George

Alex

Alex

 

SPUD Manufacturing, MHL, and Schedule Update

Dear SPUD Kickstarter Family,

We are continually grateful for your support! Everyday we are getting closer to getting you your SPUD. We are going to continue to be as responsive and transparent as possible, and feel free to continue to message or comment if you have any feedback/questions.

Manufacturing Design Update (Feedback Requested!) 

Our manufacturing team has suggested a different HDMI receiver than the one we originally designed. The suggested component does not support MHL, however it does support display scaling (which the original receiver did not). For those of you who are unfamiliar, MHL is a standard to output an Android phone’s display to HDMI. The standard has largely been depreciated and has not been implemented on a major phone released in the last 4 years (see list of mobile devices that support MHL). How important is MHL support important to you? Let us know here!

Schedule Update

We are still on target for an August 2017 release! Keep in mind that for a new product category with completely new components like SPUD, it is very difficult to have a deterministic schedule, so it might still be earlier or later than this. We will, of course, continue to update all of you as we get closer to release!   

New Addition to the Team

We added a very experienced supply manager, Leonard Wong, to our team to help make sure the supply chain runs smoothly. Leonard has over 30 years of supply chain management experience beginning in the floppy disk industry, through single-use cameras, and, most recently, in LED lighting. He has extensive experience conducting business in China and Hong Kong. Leonard has been focused on SPUD’s soft goods (protective cover and shroud) since January, and his responsibilities will expand to managing the entire supply chain within the next 3 months.  

I was on CNBC! 

Check out my CNBC interview! I refuse to watch myself, but George and Justin assured me that it was okay to share :).

We are going to push to get you your SPUD as soon as possible, and we will continue to keep you updated. Don’t hesitate to share this campaign with anyone you think might be interested! We are grateful for all your help in bringing SPUD to life and are very excited to get you yours! 

-Thanks,  

 
Alex CEO, Arovia, Inc.

Alex CEO, Arovia, Inc.

 

SPUD Update: CES, NBC, and More!

Hello SPUD Supporters!

Since the end of our Kickstarter campaign, we’ve been hard at work finalizing our manufacturers and kicking off the production process. Wanted to give you a quick update on some of the highlights this past month: 

Manufacturing

  • Manufacturing has been our main focus, and it will continue to be until you get your SPUD! We have finalized our list of manufacturers, and we’re currently in the middle of the RFQ process. We’re very happy with how our supply chain is shaping up! Over the next few weeks, Alex and George will be flying out to the different manufacturing locations to finalize the agreements. Thanks to all of you out there that have helped us make these valuable manufacturing connections!

CES 2017

  • We were lucky enough to exhibit this year at CES. While we did spend a lot of the time meeting with suppliers and manufacturers, we also had a great time showing off the prototype to TONS of interested folks (including a few of you!). It was really great seeing the “WOW” expression on people’s faces when they saw SPUD pop-up for the first time :)
 
Alex nails one of his many on-the-spot interviews.

Alex nails one of his many on-the-spot interviews.

 

In the News

  • We’re super excited that NBC’s the Today Show named SPUD one of the top “Tech Trends” for 2017! Plus, it was awesome to see SPUD on national television! Click the picture below to see the entire segment: 
 
SPUD on NBC's the Today Show!

SPUD on NBC's the Today Show!

 

SPUD Pre-sales

As always, thank you for your support! Don’t hesitate to send us a message if you have any questions!

- Warm Regards,

 
George

George

Justin

Justin

Alex

Alex