Misfit Shine drops Android support, delays shipping until July

By Jonah Comstock
10:31 am

Misfit also released a picture of a black version of the Shine with a leather band.

Misfit Wearables announced that it is once more pushing back the shipping date of its crowd-funded Shine tracker, and that the device will no longer support Android at launch. Supporters of Misfit's $846,000 Indiegogo campaign this past January will now have to wait until mid-July for their trackers.

The Misfit Shine is a sleek, quarter-sized activity tracker worn on a wristband or pennant. The device syncs wirelessly and tracks walking, cycling, or swimming.

"We know that yesterday’s announcement of our shipping delay to mid-July and not having Android support at launch was a big disappointment for our supporters and I am really sorry," Misfit CEO Sonny Vu wrote in a blog post. "We messed up and I take responsibility for this. Shine has been a much tougher product to make, without compromising quality and in the quantities demanded, than we had envisioned. We are indeed at the final stages of getting it out the door for you and don’t think there will be another delay now that we’ve got some of the key processes nailed down."

In an email to backers, Vu said that the company had more trouble than expected making the Shine fully waterproof, which is one reason for the delay. As for the Android announcement, the company didn't fully explain the move.

"iOS allows us to roll out the features we want and give you the best user experience out of the box," Vu wrote in an email to project backers. In a follow-up email, he wrote "to answer the burning question of when we’re going to support Android, I can only say 'early next year.' There are a lot of different devices and screen sizes to support on Android and we want to get the user experience right. Although Shine can work on its own out of the box, the experience is obviously not the same without connectivity."

In a January 2013 interview with MobiHealthNews, Vu said the company was hoping to get the device shipped "as soon as humanly possible," namely some time in the Spring. In February, Vu told backers in an email the device would ship in June. The delay invites comparisons to another famously overfunded crowdfunding project, the Pebble smartwatch, which wrapped its Kickstarter campaign just over a year ago and is only now shipping its last thousand units. Pebble initially promised to ship in September of last year, but it also had 85,000 units to ship. Misfit has around 10,000.

Being behind on shipping isn't altogether surprising for a small company with 10,000 orders to fill for a product that's still in development, but Misfit's decision to drop Android for the time being is a curious one, given that Misfit's would-be competitors have recently moved in the opposite direction. Both Jawbone and Fitbit began offering Android support for their wearable fitness trackers earlier this year, while Nike said that the company has no plans to move beyond iOS, though rumor has it now the company is working on an Android app after all.

Nike, of course, has a longstanding relationship with Apple going back to the 2006 Nike + iPod collaboration, which might have something to do with the company's iOS focus. Misfit Wearables also has an Apple connection, though it's a personal one: former Apple CEO John Sculley is one of the founding investors in the company, which raised $7.6 million back in April 2012 (another notable difference from Pebble, which raised no funds prior to its Kickstarter and only this month raised its first venture round).

Earlier this month, Google itself made a move that could make activity trackers redundant on Android devices. A new API called Activity Recognition, announced this month at Google I/O developer event, will allow developers to access the phone's accelerometer and return data about whether a person is running, cycling, or in a vehicle. While this was possible before, the API update makes it much easier to use the phone itself as a tracker.

Like the activity tracking feature Google added to Google Now back in December, the real implications for this update could be in combination with the now-in-beta Google Glass, which looks more and more like it will function as a wearable activity tracker at launch.


The latest news in digital health delivered daily to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing!
Error! Something went wrong!