As you might know, Trey, a member of this community (and also a first-batch-preorderer) took the time to visit CircuitCo for us, the company that produces the Pandora Boards (as well as the Beagleboards and the Pandaboards).
He came back with a load of pictures and a lot of news - good and bad ones.
Basically, what I feared for the last weeks has come true - we haven't been told the complete truth about the production.
Sadly, there are not 2000 boards ready which just need to get the nubs. There are about 500 boards there, in various states (some completely finished, some finished except for the nubs, some had all the SMT parts on but were missing the rest, etc.)
It looks like they just started to work on the boards when they got the final nubs - that was what I expected, to be honest.
First: They never showed us pictures - which sounded to me like they were not really producing anything.
Second: If I were the company, I wouldn't have started before the final nubs were there (okay, on the other hand, I would have told the truth).
We pay them after they delivered the final boards. And I think THAT is the reason they didn't continue on the boards.
If we couldn't fix the nubs, the project would probably have gone bust - and then they had 3000 half-finished boards we couldn't pay anymore.
And as we kept asking and asking how things are progressing, my guess is they told as they are working and progressing to calm us down and not get angry, thinking we will not show up to check it out anyways.
Now they just got the first 2000 finally working nubs and started to work on the boards.
I am really sad to tell you this - but I don't think we'll see too many shipped Pandoras before christmas. We might get a bigger batch of boards and might even manage to build quite a few and ship them, but given the usual delays with shipping services right before christmas, it might be very narrow. I'd love to give you better news here, but oh well...
Now for the good news:
* Trey saw 15 people working, most of them were working on Pandora boards. This confirms that they are now really working on the boards!
* Trey will regularly visit them to check up how they're progressing. There will be no way to fool us anymore!
* They have nightshifts and will work most of the holidays.
* Now they know we have someone to check - which should hopefully motivate them to continue working.
* We got news from the nub company that the next 2500 nubs should be ready next week. It looks like they got the missing PCBs (for the nubs). Until the end of December, all needed nubs should be finished!
What will happen now?
Well, we'll keep a close eye on the production now and Trey will regularly visit them to make sure they continue producing the Pandoras!
All I can do is hope you will hold on for a while longer (yeah, probably Two Months (TM)) and wait for progress happening and good news from Trey.
We've dedicated a lot of time and money into this project. It probably is one of the most unique projects there is, and I don't want it to go down shortly before it's finished.
As we said, we used your prepayment to pay for parts and production. Any refund will decrease our own money and while we can cope with quite a few refunds, if all of you want to cancel your order at once, it surely won't be enough - so if you REALLY want a refund instead of a Pandora, please wait until the end of January (as then we should have an idea how well the production runs). Thanks!
Of course, I'll keep posting daily videos to give you some daily Pandora - and we'll make sure to keep you updated about the production.
Thanks again for your support! I know we can do it - let's keep going!
Finally, here are some pictures taken by Trey directly at CircuitCo today. Pandora-Boards in various areas with various states of completion. Yes, they are REALLY working on them now!