There was plenty of hype surrounding Ring by Logbar following its bumper crowdfunding success on Kickstarter.
Raising over $880,000 and described by its makers as “like magic, allowing you to control anything you want, by wearing it on your finger,” it was claimed that: “You can send texts, control home appliances, and even pay your bills — all at once and in a flash.”
Sounds awesome, right?
Sadly, since shipping began last month, the feedback from the buyers has been anything but positive…
“Just received my ring today. What a load of crap. Its size is comically big, it doesn't even come close to fitting on my thumb - let alone my index finger.”
“So who's in for a group lawsuit? This thing is a piece of crap and they won't even respond to requests for refunds.”
"Way, way too big. Looks cheap. What a colossal fail and waste of my good money. What a rip-off!"
“Received mine today... in few words... taxes paid, enormous, poor quality, works but not always, too few actions. VERY DISAPPOINTED... BIG BIG FAKE!!! Kickstarter must say something...”
“Another Kickfail. I'm glad I have given up on Kickstarter.”
Oh dear. And the SnazzyLabs reviewer didn’t hold back either in a YouTube video that's now been viewed more than a million times, and is titled "Worst Product Ever Made".
“It is the most inconvenient, useless piece of hardware and software that I have ever seen,” he said.
“I would not wish my worst enemy the curse of having to use this product, it’s absolutely horrible.
"Stay far away from this, it will destroy your life.”
CEO hits back
Tech in Asia spoke with Takuro Yoshida, the CEO of Tokyo-based Logbar to get his side of the story and there’s some definite straw-clutching going on.
“By the time we launched our Kickstarter, we were on the seventh or eighth version,” he said. “Yes, it was huge, but it got smaller each time.
“I have a lot of web and mobile app experience, so when there’s a bug I can fix it right away. But with hardware, it can take weeks to fix one problem.
“It was very, very hard and we faced a lot of obstacles – but we made a real product. We know it isn’t perfect, but it’s real.
“You need practice to use it, and we also realised that we need to publish more information about how to use it correctly. It’s hard to explain by video or words, and I wish I could show people how to use it properly face-to-face.”
So there you have it. It is real and if the company CEO could personally come round and show every user how to use it properly, then it’d be $269 well spent.
Ring, in theory, was a great idea but highlights the pitfalls that even a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign can fall foul of.
While an idea may potentially seem game-changing - that's all it really is: potential. Successful execution of a consumer tech device is a very tricky business indeed, and even huge corporations with massive R&D budgets regularly screw up.
So while we encourage tech fans to get behind campaigns and back exciting startups, be aware that the reality can often be quite different from the proposal. Be sure to also take a look at our feature - Kickstarter uncovered: tech start-up mecca or wild west of hopeless dreams? – for more information on the dangers of crowdfunding.
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