Project update 6 of 30
Dear Hackboard backers,
We wanted to give you an update on our production and shipping schedule and to share as much information as possible to keep you informed on our progress. As many of you are aware, the electronics industry is suffering a global shortage of chips, driven first by the pandemic, followed by a huge increase in demand as markets recover. Manufacturers of everything from computers to automobiles have been affected and, unfortunately, we are no exception. This shortage has forced us to delay shipment of the Hackboard 2 as we resolve these issues. We expect it shouldn’t be more than three months to complete production, plus a few weeks of logistics to get Hackboards into your hands. Once the new design is finalized and we’ve ordered the parts, we’ll be able to give you a more precise timeframe. We’re sorry about the delay - we know you’re anxious to receive your Hackboard 2 and we’re just as anxious to ship it to you!
Here’s some background on the work we’re doing and the challenges we’ve faced.
As you may know, to test and validate our product, we created the original Hackboard 1 with the available Intel N3350 processor and associated parts in order to deliver the highest possible specification at the most affordable price. Our roadmap to migrate to the N4020 platform for the Hackboard 2 — the product you’ve backed on Crowd Supply — was to be a straightforward upgrade to the faster processor and related components, while taking advantage of upgrades in Wi-Fi and LAN speeds.
Unfortunately, when we began ordering parts for the Hackboard 2 design last month, suppliers were slow to confirm their stock, component availability was limited, and prices had skyrocketed. We have been working hard to find available components or substitute alternative high-quality parts and we’ve made some excellent progress, but we still have work to do.
Some of the most critical shortages include the LAN and audio components, with ridiculously long lead times. Another component that’s been a challenge is eMMC storage. One solution we’ve identified regarding eMMC memory is the option of replacing the 64 GB of eMMC storage with a 64 GB SATA drive using flash memory. These drives have better inventory availability, the same access speeds as the eMMC chips and will enable us to possibly offer additional upgrade options for larger drive sizes.
As you can imagine, we are working hard to redesign the board to accommodate these changes with more readily available components. Because chips are not identical and do not use the same electrical layout, we are involving the IC suppliers in our redesign and are getting significant support in our work.
On a positive note, while other suppliers are more locked into parts in their current product lines and are unable to alter products without significant changes to their design and regulatory approvals, since this is our first product to market, we are able to be more flexible in our approach to find available components and bring our product to market. We are getting significant help from Intel and our distributors and we will keep you posted on our progress. Thank you for your patience and your ongoing support.
As usual, you can see the status of your Hackboard 2 order by logging into your Crowd Supply account.
The Hackboard Team