Why Did This Take So Long!!
A lot has happened since our last blog post in February so we at SoloKeys hopes this finds you and yours in good health.
Reusing the above meme from artist KC Green as a visual representation of 2020, the breakout of the pandemic in March impacted our company in two main functional areas, fulfillment and manufacturing. As the global economy started to react to the spread of the virus, our ability to deliver on orders from our store experienced significant delays as the warehouses started to reduce or stop operations due to lockdowns. Additionally, international mail deliveries proved spotty as well. Fortunately, customers proved to be patient as long as we stayed transparent about the impacts to our business. For those who were affected, thank you again! Fulfillment didn't return to full operation until June.
Meanwhile, we experienced production delays in manufacturing. SoloKeys are manufactured by a great family run business in Northern Italy. They happened to be in the midst of the swift March outbreak as the virus began to ravage parts of Europe. Production went on hold as Italy saw much of its economy go on lock down. This was right before our CEO, Conor, was supposed to fly to Italy to help flesh out the manufacturing process for Solo Version B. We decided to cancel the trip and keep him home. This contributed to a chain of other issues that resulted in no launch for Version B this summer.
Where are SoloKeys manufactured? See below the town of Castell'Arquato, from the castle!
Improving on Quality Control
Additionally, our unique design, showed some unexpected quality issues when doing some initial low volume runs.
To achieve high quality, we've had to develop more custom tooling, and even develop a custom testing process
to bin our NFC chips before assembly.
The socket tester to the right is one item we custom built. Efforts will ensure that the NFC functionality of Solo Version B will be a top performing device on the market.
Unlike our first Solo model, this Version B was designed from conception to finish with NFC in mind!
But, it is now September. All functions are green and we have completed the prototype for Solo Version B. And we think it's awesome...it's going to make a splash on the market! Here's a look at the device before the cavity is sealed shut with transparent epoxy.
Timeline to Launch
We are excited to be partnering with Kickstarter for a campaign launch to bring Solo Version B to the consumer. Kind of cool that 2 years ago we launched SoloKeys with Kickstarter in order to bring the first open source FIDO2 security key to the market. Other companies have since joined us, but we have some innovations in our design that will deliver uniqueness once again to our products. Congratulations, by the way to Yubico for catching up 😉! They just launched their first USB-C NFC capable device!
Kickstarter campaign will launch in late October and run until the first week of December. We are targeting late November production for a shot at delivery in late December. It's a tight schedule, but stay tuned for updates!
Shout Out to DiceKeys
Have you been following the Crowd Supply campaign for DiceKeys? The team led by Stuart Schecter has done some awesome work leading to their product being featured at Wired, Forbes and Hackster News.
Additionally, we added to the collaboration to provide SoloKeys that can be seeded with the DiceKey generated secret.
It's not too late to support, 10 days left in the campaign! Click here to go to the campaign site.