Backer’s update #4: Software & Marketing

Dear backers,

Time to get you updated again with all that is happening at the moment.

Since our last update we have been mainly working on our product’s software and marketing related topics to gain more sales, while our partners in China are working around the clock to get your speakers ready as soon as possible. Hereunder you’ll read all about it!

Planning

Where do we stand at the moment? As was mentioned in update #2 we have all our partners in line, which makes planning easier, but unfortunately it comes at the price of being dependent on their judgement of work and availability. One of those partners, our electronics manufacturer, is running into delays now as they misjudged the amount of work it takes them to turn our initial designs into mass-manufacturable electronics. Their revised planning states that all electronics will be finished by early August. Due to this delay the production of electronics has become the critical path in our project, which means we can only start the pilot build of our speakers as soon as the electronics are done. All the other manufactured and sourced parts, such as the plastic enclosures, the textile sleeves and the custom speaker drivers, are on schedule. It goes without saying that we (and our electronics manufacturer) are working tirelessly to make up as much time as possible.

Another setback in planning is Dolby. Selecting a chip capable of decoding Dolby Digital has proven more difficult and more time-consuming than anticipated unfortunately. Turnkey solution chips are available but require tremendous license fees. So we’ve decided to build our own, without any restrictions, except for the restrictions that come with Dolby technology. We are currently waiting for Dolby’s approval.

So as soon as the pilot build is done successfully we’ll start the certification process, which is estimated to take at least one month. This means that — pending a smooth certification process — the earliest delivery date we foresee now will be around September.

Progress

But what progress has been made since last update?
Now that hardware development is out of our hands, the development team is focusing a lot on software. Here are a few examples that have lately been achieved:

We’ve improved the way our amplifier chip plays audio and have verified that they work quite nicely, both in satellite and subwoofer. Florent has carefully crafted the kien sound quality with digital audio filters which we showcased at our backers event. 🔈

We have finished 95% of the firmware of the Bluetooth audio module in the satellite. Also, the NFC firmware — for quick tap-to-pair functionalities — is finished. 🛰

On Wireless Power, things are progressing nicely as well. We are now wirelessly charging a battery with our Wireless Power design successfully. We have encountered some rare complex edge cases which could have caused satellites to not charge correctly. We’re working on making the Wireless Power software more robust to prevent these rare cases. ⚡️

While our development team is making headway on the software, our plastics manufacturer has started testing our steel moulds with which we’ll be able to create our unique speaker enclosures for the next few years. Below are some gifs showing you some first production tests, including a glue robot working on assembling the satellite. 🤖

Injection moulding of the satellite grill.
Injection moulding of transparent LED part.
Robot arm applying glue on one half of a satellite’s enclosure.

Besides that, we are very happy that our amazing sounding custom drivers are finished and the textile sleeves undergo their final tweaks.

Backer’s Event & More

Another part of our attention and energy of last month went into our backer’s event where our community of kien believers could experience our product for the first time. We presented the history of kien with all of our previous prototypes and walked the attendees through our process. After that, the kien sound was unveiled through four songs ranging from classical to electronic music. It all went really great, and the crowd loved it. It was overwhelming :) Check out the video below to (re-)experience the event!

Besides showing our backers what they’ll have in their homes soon, we saw the backer’s event as a great part of stepping up our marketing game. That’s why we documented reviews of some attendees, which we added to our brand new product video. With this we’re steering towards a more mature brand identity which will be of great importance for when we launch kien onto the market. If you haven’t seen it already, go and watch the video below!

Nice right?! We can imagine this makes you want to expand your initial purchase to a bigger system. Actually, some of you backers have already done so. We decided that all of you beloved Indiegogo backers can expand your initial purchases at the original Indiegogo price. Just write us on contact@kien.io and we’ll arrange your discount. But make sure to do it before the 15th of July when the first production batch closes.

Colour choice & possible changes in address

We would like to close this update with the notion that we’ll be sending you an email next week in which you can make a final choice of color and inform us about any possible changes in the delivery address.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by email at contact@kien.io.

Stay kien,

Florent, Jorn, Sten & the guys


Want to know more about kien? Visit our website.