In a blog post on the their website today, Rhomb.io, the developers of the hardware due to power the Smach Z have said they are pulling out of the project. Citing communication failures and a lack of understanding of the project timeline by Smach Z – they will no longer be co-operating with the team to bring the Smach Z to life. This project began on shaky ground after their first crowd funding attempt was cancelled, but they successfully funded the project second time around at the end of last year. Unfortunately early bird units were supposed to ship in April, and according to Rhomb this could never have happened since they always said that their board would be available towards the end of this year.
So it looks like another one bites the dust, or at the very least the Smach Z will not be available for many months to come. I only hope that everyone attempting to jump ship on Kickstarter manages to get their refunds. This is the reason I would never back a project like this, being an early adopter is risky enough without the prospect of never even receiving the thing you paid for.
Now, where are those Pyras? 😛
Update 3rd July:
The Smach team have responded to say that the project will continue, albeit with a different chip manufacturer. The board will still be modular, allowing SoC and RAM upgrades down the line. Unfortunately more delays are inevitable, and they have stated that refunds are not possible at this point. So it looks as though those who have been waiting since April for their units have no choice but to wait a
little lot longer. The below is the response from the Smach Z team, posted over on the Pandora forums.
We still can’t give more details about the ImasD breakup, but we’d like to give another update to answer some of your most common questions.
After the ImasD failure, we don’t want the success of the project to rely on another third party. That’s why the new hardware development team will work with our team as a part of SMACH Z, even if they are an independent hardware company (On Testing S.L). We will be in full control of the project so we will be able to communicate more freely with you. The lack of communication with backers was due to the scarcity of progress updates from ImasD.
The new team is very experienced, and we’re confident that they will do great work, but we don’t want to rely only on one team. We’re looking forward to adding more partners to the project. We’re in negotiations with Bleujour for the AMD integration and BQ and TicNova for the production (though the deal is not closed yet).
It’s early to have a new schedule because the new team has just started. Also, we’re still dealing with ImasD to get the materials in order to continue the work.
Because of the change from Rhomb technology we will need to redo all the work related to Rhomb, including the AMD SoC integration. As an preliminary date we’re estimating having the final version developed in December 2017 and start shipping to backers on Q1 2018. We’ll give more details as soon as we establish the new schedule.
SMACH Z won’t use Rhomb technology anymore. However, SMACH Z will still be modular, and it’ll be possible to upgrade the SoC, RAM and storage as promised. We’re working on our own modular solution, following standards of M.2 for the SSD and laptop DDR4 RAM.
We understand your concerns and people asking for refunds, however that is not feasible at this point as those funds are invested in completing the project.
As you may know, it’s quite usual for new projects to be delayed. More than 80% of Kickstarter’s top projects shipped late, and especially hardware projects. Some examples of renown projects that have been delayed and were finally successful are Pebble, Oculus Rift and TouchTime.
Like those projects, we are dedicated to overcome the inherit difficulties in producing new hardware and appreciate the your support and patience.
We’re working on introducing improvements to the console’s hardware in order to address your concerns about the delay. We will disclose more details as soon as we can.
Thanks for your support.