Due to production issues, the “world’s thinnest watch” won’t ship to Kickstarter backers

production issues thinnest watch kickstarter backers cst 01
Almost two years after the self-proclaimed “world’s thinnest watch” hit Kickstarter with much fanfare, the team behind the wristwatch announced it would not be able to fill orders for it.

According to two engineers that worked on the CST-01 E Ink watch, the main issue was that roughly half of the watches did not work after assembly. Because of this, costs per unit would double unless the watchmaking team could solve the underlying issues. In the meantime, the cost to produce one watch rose to $260, more than twice the original $129 asking price.

Unfortunately for the team, it ran out of money before the situation could be rectified, with the two engineers saying they had to accept paying jobs just to keep the project afloat.

As a result, based on a previous update, the team has two options, the first being the liquidation of all remaining assets from Flextronics, the CST-01’s manufacturer. The second option, and the more interesting one, is to grant Kickstarter backers public access to its designs and sell as many parts as possible. As the team notes, however, this option is easily the most difficult for backers to truly take advantage of, since they are unlikely to have the machinery necessary to bring everything together.

A long, bumpy road

This marks the end of a very bumpy road for the CST-01, which started life on Kickstarter back in January of 2013 with the hope of bringing its 0.8mm-thin goodness to backers’ wrists. When all was said and done, the campaign accumulated $1 million, five times the amount originally sought.

The campaign planned to ship the watch to backers by September 2013, until it encountered its first speed bump: the inability to find a new battery, as well as the need to build a custom battery management circuit. Engineers behind the project also had to wait longer than expected for other parts. As such, delivery to backers was delayed to the beginning of 2014.

.

Unfortunately, in February 2014, more production issues popped up, involving the team’s ongoing attempt to get the watch under 1mm in width, which was set as the maximum goal. Fast forward to September 2014, and the team posted another update, saying Flextronics assured the team that the next run would solve previous issues.

In February of this year, engineers reported that some watches actually shipped out. Whether this was some sort of fluke or miracle is immaterial, as a May update reported that Flextronics would need another $1.2 million in order to fulfill orders.

The CST-01 is not the first Kickstarter campaign to fail, but it is a successful campaign that failed miserably. And it resulted in the biggest nightmare that every crowdfunding campaign potentially faces: the inability to deliver the goods. What exacerbates this nightmare is the (incorrect) believe of some backers that they are guaranteed a finished product once the campaign reaches its goal.

Even though last week’s update held out the hope that the watch’s team could find another partner to manufacture the CST-01, the team acknowledged that, “the future looks bleak.”

Computing

Microsoft is ‘handing even more of online life’ to Google, Mozilla CEO says

Not everyone is happy with Microsoft's switch to Google's Chromium engine. In a new blog post, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writes that he believes the move is "handing online life control" to Google.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Computing

Google denies claim that it’s tracking internet users when incognito mode is on

Google is denying claims leveled against it by rival privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo. The rival alleged that even when incognito mode is on, Google is tracking users in order to deliver personalized search results.
Emerging Tech

Wearable device spots signs of an opioid overdose, automatically calls for help

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a wearable device that’s capable of detecting an opioid overdose and sending out an alert to medical personnel. Here's how it works.
Mobile

Xiaomi overtakes Apple in unit sales of wearables as market booms

The wearables sales for the third quarter of 2018 are in, and it's all change on the leaderboard, with Xiaomi taking first place from Apple, despite the exceptionally strong Apple Watch Series 4.
Gaming

Seedling for Magic Leap is the most expensive plant you’ll ever take care of

Insomniac Games has officially launched its new game for Magic Leap One, called 'Seedling.' Throughout the game, you can nurture your very own life form wherever you are. In our demo with Seedling, we got to check out if the game is worth…
Wearables

The Apple Watch Series 4's heart-monitoring ECG feature is now available

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4. From a larger display to a built-in electrical heart sensor, the latest device brings along some notable new features. Here's everything you need to know.
Emerging Tech

This implant goes beyond pacemakers, helps aging hearts beat more vigorously

The FDA's advisory committee has voted to recommend an innovative pacemaker-style gadget be approved in the U.S. The Optimizer Smart Implantable Pulse Generator boosts performance, strength, and pumping ability of weakened heart chambers.
Mobile

Galaxy Watch vs. Apple Watch Series 4: Which one is the smartest?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch Series 4 are two of the best smartwatches available today. But which is better? We put the two watches head-to-head to find out which you should buy.
Wearables

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Product Review

Montblanc Summit 2 offers smart functionality but still looks good with a suit

Montblanc’s Summit 2 is the first smartwatch to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. It’s feature packed, with GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and a heart rate sensor, but it also has the classic timepiece look.
Outdoors

Built to take a beating and still perform, these are the best hiking watches

A proper hiking watch should track exercise metrics and act as a navigational co-pilot during any kind of hike. Ideally, it'll even have a built-in GPS system and sensors. Here are five of the best hiking watches.