Uno Noteband boss: 'We only get one shot'

CEO Mark Long fills us in on the long delays for the first Spritz wearable
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Take a look at the Uno Noteband's Indiegogo page and you'll see that there have been a lot of comments from the crowdfunding community. 681 comments, in fact. And not many of those are friendly.

"It's been 3 weeks since an update you fucking scumbags," says John Clemente.

"If any one had any doubt in their mind about whether this was a scam or not now you know it definitely is," adds benw613.

"I tried getting refunds through my credit card and paypal…..can't even do that since it has been so long! This is ridiculous – no updates, no survey, just filed a complaint with FTC and Indiegogo, not that I have much hope," exclaims rjg8971.

Josh Colt doesn't use words to express himself. He's simply fathomed a middle finger gesture out of commas and forward-slashes.

You get the idea.

People are angry. And they have every reason to be. The campaign was 260% funded when it closed in February. Shipping was estimated for April. It's now November, and backers are in the dark as to when they will receive their Notebands.

However, Wareable has been informed that the product is expected to officially launch on Black Friday – 27 November in December (we've just been informed the launch has been pushed a week or so).

The company's CEO Mark Long told us that the delays are due to design changes and that his main concern is getting the device perfect.

"Indiegogo and crowdfunding lets you get amazing feedback and we've added some features based on that," he told us. "We're just a tiny company and we're doing the best we can. With crowdfunding you don't have one or two investors, you have thousands of them.

"After 21 years in the game industry, I learned to grow a thick skin," he added. "The one thing people never forgive is shipping a product too soon; that isn't ready or is kind of half-arsed.

"I hear and read all of the comments but I try to turn a deaf ear to it. I just want it to be as good as possible. We only get one shot. If we ship this thing and people say it's crap then we're done."

The former Zombie Studios head explained that, after trying various Noteband samples over the last few months – and comparing them to existing wearables such as the Jawbone UP3 and the Nike Fuelband – they've managed to make the final product around 10% smaller than the original design, and much lighter.

"We spent a lot of the time tweaking the band, he said. "We went back and forth on the material and the stiffness. It's so light and small that you forget you have it on until it vibrates.

"We're making improvements every time we get a new sample," he added. "Improving the strength of the magnet, changing the way it charges, making it waterproof and so on. Those are all engineering changes and it makes it take longer. It has taken us longer to engineer this thing than we thought."

The Uno Noteband acts as a notifier on your wrist, letting you speed read whatever messages you choose to see, using Spritz technology.

"Spritz is cool but it just hasn't found a market yet," Long explained. "People love it but nothing's really happened with it.

"I just think it's perfect for wearables. It solves a number of problems so we decided to engineer a device around it. The design concept is let's just do one thing, really simply.

"It has to be a watch, it has to do fitness tracking but crucially, it has to do notifications. I think that's the one compelling use case."

Hopefully users will agree. The company plans a wider launch for the Noteband in the new year.

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Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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