Kickstarter projects are exciting, but be prepared to wait months for a product

Kickstarter offers a mechanism for project creators to gain funding, but before you jump on in and pledge real money for project make sure you understand you likely won't see a product for months after funding closes.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

We have seen some exciting projects appear on Kickstarter and I currently have backed three projects, pledging a total of $345. Unfortunately, none of the projects I have backed have yet shipped and one is no longer of any use to me, but I am still out the $150 for this one accessory. The long lead time between pledging, funding, and shipping is something you should be aware of before supporting a project on Kickstarter. Several of the projects have gained media attention and hype, but I just wanted to recommend you use a bit of caution before jumping on a project that seems like something you could use right now since it is likely you won't see an actual product for many months.

TouchFire iPad keyboard

I use my iPad as a laptop replacement in many situation so having a convenient keyboard that takes up very little space is a very attractive option. I had the chance to meet one of the TouchFire creators and pledged $80 after trying one out. The TouchFire keyboard was funded on 13 December 2011 and the latest update on 30 April described one final issue with the magnets not fitting into the holders. The original planned delivery date was the second week in February and now we are looking at maybe June.

Thankfully, Apple did not change much in the design of the iPad 3 so the TouchFire will still work with it and I will be able to use the TouchFire with my new iPad. I just hope that the TouchFire arrives so I can get some use out of it before the iPad 4.

Elevation Dock for the iPhone

I am a big fan of the color orange and thus pledged $150 for an orange Elevation Dock. This project was fully funded on 11 February, but I can't find what the original planned shipping date was. The latest update, 27 April, stated they hoped to start shipping 30 days beyond their previous planned date of April 28th, but here were are in mid-May with no status to confirm that they are shipping in the next couple weeks.

After getting tired of the 1 Mbps download on Verizon's 3G, I just traded my iPhone 4S for a Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Thus, I may have a limited edition orange Elevation Dock available for sale. With the iPhone 5 rumored to have a larger display with a likely release this fall, the Elevation Dock may be an accessory delivered to support only the older iPhone models.

Pebble E-Paper watch

Joel discussed the Pebble E-Paper watch a couple weeks ago and I went ahead and pledged $115 for a black one. This project already has raised over $10 million and will be fully funded this Friday. They have been vague about posting any kind of availability date, but speculation is that they will ship sometime before the end of 2012.

I fully understand there are challenges with design and manufacturing and as long as you go into pledging funds for a project with this understanding then you may not be concerned about delivery estimates. However, the mobile space moves fast and as an enthusiast I change my device lineup too often to continue backing projects related to accessories for mobile devices and am trying to not get caught up in the hype again.

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