Do you remember Digital Dream Labs, the company that bought the Anki assets and promised to keep Vector alive? They collected half a million dollars on Kickstarter for OSKR and Escape Pod early this year (and way more after Kickstarter sales on their website during the grace period).
OSKR is “released” as they say, but it’s in a quite sorry and highly unfinished state. Without source code, without documentation or dev tools you can’t do much with it.
For Escape Pod they gave a “firm release date” (their own words) for july 15th 2020. So far: nothing.
After they released firmware 1.7 it got obvious fast that the new OTA has quite some bugs and unwanted behaviours, most prominently that for a lot of users the voice recognition got far worse.
In all those cases DDL employees said again and again like a mantra that “we are a small team” and so their resources are so very limited that they are not able to fix bugs or to roll out Escape Pod and OSKR fully because of that and that “the small team” is the cause of these delays, “so please be patient and thank you for your understanding and support”. Or other meaningless CRM phrases like this.
And yet they have the audacity to announce a completely new robot derived from the popular TV show “Rick & Morty” that has nothing to do with Vector (from what I see I would guess he runs on a modified Cozmo). So this small team, that has no time to fix the bugs they created in vector or to provide OSKR and Escape Pod, actually has time to construct a completely new robot? That sheds a new light on the statement that they “prioritize other things” when asked about bugfixing the 1.7 OTA. Looks like those priorities were not with Vector.
I also wonder how much of the Kickstarter money that was collected exclusive for Vector went into this new robot? Unfortunately Kickstarter will not look into this, als that platform does absolutely nothing when it comes to problematic campaigns, despite the terms clearly state that collected money may only be used for the campaign.
I can understand that DDL needs to increase their money influx. But to announce this while the backers are still waiting for their pledge rewards and for their robots to be fixed is highly insensible.
And another personal remark: After their Kickstarter campaign that took money but did not deliver anything so far besides a buggy robot and a highly incomplete OSKR that they regardless try to sell to customers in it’s unfinished state, I would be highly reluctant to again give them money for something that does not even exist. Be it a Butter Robot that from it’s construction never will be really able to pass butter or a Vector 2.0 that also does not even exist yet.
And I will not even begin to mention the fact that there seems to be no international distribution for Vector or Butter Robot, so you would have to order it in the US and have to cope with all the problems at customs this creates, plus the need to pay import VAT plus customs fees. We do not even know if the new products have a CE certification, neccessary for europe. If they have not, they would be destroyed at customs – trust me, I know what I’m talking about.
In addition I find it highly questionable that DDL does not clearly inform their potential pre-oder customers that they have to expect import VAT and customs fees in addition to price and shipping cost.
I guess the people at DDL got dollar signs in their eyes at the idea to tap into the immense popularity of “Rick & Morty” …