Leap Motion Controller delayed until July for additional testing

LeapMotion_dtCheck out our full review of the Leap Motion gesture controller.

We’ve seen the Leap Motion Controller in action plenty of times over the past year, and we can’t wait to get our hands on one. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait a little longer. Leap Motion, the company behind the 3D gesture-based Leap controller, originally stated that its hundreds of thousands of pre-orders would begin shipping on May 13, but now CEO Michael Buckwald says the Leap will be delayed until July 22.

Why the delay? During a conference call today, Buckwald cited the need for additional testing. The 3D gesture control software and hardware combo allows users to control their computers without a keyboard, mouse, or even a touchscreen. Instead, hand gestures are used to draw, play games, and create virtual 3D models.

“There is nothing catastrophically wrong,” Buckwald said. There are 600,000 devices that are ready to ship, but the delay has more to do with testing the OS and polishing it all up before it goes out to the masses. There are 12,000 developers who currently have a Leap and are working on apps for it. In addition to the SDK they’ve been working with, Leap Motion is going to hook them up with the full consumer version of the software so the company can diversify its beta testing more. 

Everyone who pre-ordered a Leap received an email today from Buckwald stating:

“The reality is we very likely could have hit the original ship date. But it wouldn’t have left time for comprehensive testing. This will come in the form of a beta test that will start in June. We will give the 12k developers who currently have Leap devices access to the feature complete product including OS interaction (today developers only have access to the SDK). We will also invite some people who are not developers to join the beta test.

Ultimately, the only way we felt 100% confident we could deliver a truly magical product that would do justice to this new form of interaction, was to push the date so we would have more time for a larger, more diverse beta test.”

As we’ve previously reported, Leap just partnered with HP to build the Leap 3D gesture control technology into HP products. The company also has a big launch planned with Best Buy, which presumably will still occur when the device is released on July 22. Clearly, Leap Motion has huge plans for its flagship product and wants to get it right before bringing it to market. It’s actually nice to see a company take a breath and realize that nobody wants to buy a super-hyped device that’s only half-baked. While it may hurt short-term profits or press, in the long run, the Leap will be better for it.