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Checking up on 2014’s crowdfunded Linux and Android devices

Dec 31, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 4,929 views

What became of the crowdfunded projects we covered in 2014? Two earned more than $2 million each, about a third went unfunded, and half had shipping delays.

Ten years ago if somebody were to tell you you’d soon be able to collect thousands and even millions of dollars for your product idea simply by posting a summary and some pictures on a web page, you might have been inclined to check their meds. Then Kickstarter launched in 2009, and small-scale investing changed forever.

Last year when we published our first retrospective on crowdfunded products, we detailed the year-end status for 19 projects that had been covered on LinuxGizmos in 2013. This year, we report on twice as many: 38 crowdfunded projects that we covered in 2014. This doesn’t represent every Linux- or Android-ready gizmo that ended up on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and the like. However, the increase in numbers reflects the fact that crowdfunding is becoming a more common pathway to development for many consumer electronics and embedded vendors.

Status updates and summaries for the 38 Linux- and Android-based products are posted farther below. Products are split into home automation, multimedia, networking, robots and drones, SBCs, wearables, and “other” categories. The vendors ranged from father-and-son garage operations to major startups that also received VC funding.

The Jibo telepresence robot (left) and Skully AR-1 motorcycle helmet each raised more than $2 million

There are far more Kickstarter projects here than Indiegogo campaigns, and they have a better overall success rate. However, Indiegogo also hosted the two biggest successes: the emotionally intuitive Jibo robot and the Skully AR-1 smart motorcycle helmet, each of which blew past its goals to gain over $2 million. Other high-profile crowdfunding successes this year include the iBox Nano 3D printer, the Firefox OS-based Matchstick media player dongle, and Fon’s Gramofon wireless speakers.

A rough road to crowdfunding success

Despite the many successes, our research confirms the high level of risk faced by both crowdfunding vendors and investors. Last year, only five of the 19 products went unfunded. This year, 12 of the 36 products failed to hit their goals, and three more were canceled by the vendor. Meanwhile, the Anonabox Tor router was suspended by Kickstarter amid allegations of fraud. It quickly reappeared on Indiegogo where it was recently funded.

Products were usually canceled due to low funding or supplier problems. However, in the case of the Com 1 smartwatch, Google appears to have pressured Com to pull out due to the company failing to ask permission to use the Android Wear label. The Com 1 is now being revamped, however.

The categories with the highest failure rates were single board computers, where five of seven products missed their goals, often by large margins. Multimedia consumer electronics products seemed to do better.

Partially, the higher failure rate this year is due to the fact that we have more frequently jumped in with coverage early in the campaign, usually before the product had been funded. We plan to be a bit more careful in 2015, and will more often wait until the product gains significant funding, while still leaving time for our readers to jump in.

In some cases, if a product gets close to the goal, but misses it, the vendor will move ahead anyway with a commercial launch, another crowdfunding campaign, or a revamped product. In fact, vendors for about half of the unfunded and canceled products say they are pursuing or considering future plans. Sometimes, however, this is simply wishful thinking.

Except for the flexible funding campaigns that are sometimes used on Indiegogo, investors get their money back if the campaign misses its goals. However, they often must endure shipping delays, typically due to supplier problems. Of the funded products, almost half appear to have missed 2014 ship dates, and a number of those that did ship, shipped late. No wonder we’re seeing more crowdfunded products with long lead times, so vendors can avoid antagonizing their early customers before they’ve even received the product.

Usually, the delays are only a matter of a few months. That’s not too bad considering that funders often receive substantial discounts compared to the eventual commercial pricing. For some crowdfunding investors, it’s all about being first. For others, it’s about saving money. Good either way.

Index of 2014 crowdfunding projects

Click each the title of each project in the list below, to view its status as of this post’s publication date:


Summaries of 2014 crowdfunding projects

Descriptions of each of the crowdfunding projects we covered in 2014, with links to our coverage of them and to their campaign pages or websites, appear below (in alphabetical order).





Description — This stylish, Android-based home automation system supports numerous wireless protocols, and offers self-learning algorithms and advanced security functions. The basic package includes a wireless PIR (passive infrared) detector and magnetic door sensor. Higher end options add more door sensors, a video security package with more PIR detectors, and even IP surveillance cameras.

Status — The ALYT was expected to ship in backers in November, but in October, Italy-based ALYT announced a delay due to supplier issues. The device, which went for as little as $149 on Indiegogo, is also available for general pre-order starting at $199.




Description — This tiny, $51 router is a hardware router implementation of the open source Tor networking server designed for anonymous Internet use. The Anonabox runs OpenWRT Linux on a MediaTek MT7620n WiFi chipset. The 2.4 x 1.6 x 0.5-inch Anonabox is small enough to be sent through the mail, and to be easily concealed.

Status — The Anonabox campaign was suspended by Kickstarter four days after it launched amid allegations of fraud and potential security flaws. The developers were criticized for saying the device was four years in the making when it used a relatively new off-the-shelf hardware design. Open source claims were also questioned. By that point the device had racked up a whopping $585,549, far beyond the modest $7,500 goal. No funding was released to developer August Germar.

Germar then found a friend in Indiegogo where a revised unit has now been successfully funded, with a week left (Jan. 7). The $51 price is the same, but the device has been updated. According to a story in the DailyDot, which notes that Indiegogo has a more relaxed vetting process than Kickstarter, there are already new allegations of misleading claims.


Arbor Linux Shield


Description — The Arbor Linux Shield was intended as a COM/baseboard duo incorporating a “V-Solution” module running OpenWRT Linux on an Atheros AR9331. The baseboard can act as a Linux SBC or as an Arduino shield.

Status — The unfunded project appears to be discontinued. So is the Arbor-IO website.


Com 1


Description — The Com 1 was to be the first Android Wear smartwatch to use an Ingenics MIPS SoC. The watch offers IP67 waterproofing, WiFi, GPS, and a $125 price. The device is further equipped with 4GB of flash, a 1.6-inch, 320 x 320-pixel touchscreen, and multiple sensors, including a pedometer.

Status — Shortly after launching the Indiegogo project for the Com 1, Google asked Com 1 and Indiegogo to remove the launch page due to IP infringement. It appears that Google is keeping tight reins over the Android Wear reference guidelines, or perhaps it was simply because the developer (Com) never bothered to ask permission. Com appears to have returned all funding to backers. In October, Com announced it was working with the Fabric Labs wearables incubator on a remake with “all new hardware and design” as well as an “all new team.” It will be interesting to see if the device wears an Android Wear logo.


CoMo Booster


Description — This Pico-ITX baseboard for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module is a more feature-rich, yet lower cost alternative to the Compute Module’s optional, $200 Compute Module IO Board, claimed Geekroo. The CoMo Booster adds features like an extra USB port, built-in WiFi, a wide-range 6-23V power supply, and a real-time clock (RTC), yet sells for less than half the price.

Status — This unfunded project does not appear to be moving forward. There was no response to our email query.




Description — The $35, open-spec DPT-Board is primarily designed for embedded computing education, but it can also be used by DIYers, embedded hobbyists, makers, or whatever they’re being called these days. The SBC incorporates an OpenWRT Linux- and Atheros AR9331-based COM with built-in WiFi. The baseboard offers dual 10/100 Ethernet controllers, dual USB ports, 20 GPIOs, as well as a wide variety of industrial and motor control connectors.

Status — Belgian father-and-son startup DPTechnics more than doubled its funding goal based on $35 packages. However, the company missed the July ship date due to a redesign inspired by feedback from funders. DPTechnics’ Ronny Pape now informs us that the DPT-Board is expected to ship to backers in Jan. 2015. New features include a “switchable IO voltage, motor controllers, buffers, better power supply, and CE certification,” says Pape. The revised board, as well as a DPT-Board+ version, will go on sale publicly in early 2015. In addition, two pilot schools in Belgium will soon be testing the boards. The board’s COM, as well as a DPT Robot based on the DPT-Board, are already available for about 25 euros (about $30) apiece.




Description — Electric Objects’ EO1 is an Android-based, wall-mounted, 23-inch HD signage computer for displaying digital art. The WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled hardware is fairly basic except for the art-friendly screen, which offers an anti-glare matte finish with high contrast, minimal brightness, and low latency. The display is intended to hang on the wall and run a user pre-programmed lineup of rotating still or animated art in the background. The company plans to set up a community website with a storefront for digital art where artists can get paid for their work.

Status — The EO1 ended up with an impressive haul of $787,000 in funding. The device appears to be on schedule for a May 2015 release of 2,255 devices to the campaign’s 2.246 backers, who each paid $299 and up. A Nov. 26 blog entry reported that the production prototypes of the mainboard would be due within a few weeks. Electric Objects has also announced its first group of participating artists. The device will eventually sell for $499.




Description — The Android-based Fidelys smartwatch offers “military grade” iris recognition technology and a rotating-clicking bezel for I/O. The watch uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to show notifications for phone calls, email, SMS, and SNS. An NFC chip enables authenticated contactless payments, and there are heartrate, magnetic, and pedometer sensors.

Status — IriTech barely made a dent in its ambitious $350,000 goal, and the project does not appear to be moving forward. There was no response to our email query.




Description — The low-cost Gramofon streams music from multiple mobile devices to your music system, and also acts as a WiFi hotspot. The OpenWRT Linux based device, which is based on Fon’s Fonera router, ships with the WahWah music service and supports streaming from mobile devices running Spotify, Rhapsody, and Napster.

Status — The Gramofon appears to have shipped to backers and is now available to the public for 49 euros ($61), up from as little as $30 to $40 on Kickstarter.


HIO Wallpad


Description — The HIO Wallpad is an Android-based, touchscreen-enabled home automation controller that offers PoE for drop-in deployment. The hackable, wall-mounted device can control a home’s lights, HVAC system, and thermostat, among other smart devices. You can also program it to control indoor, outdoor, and perimeter security lights, as well as security surveillance systems. The HIO is based on Habey’s Freescale i.MX6-based HIO-EMB-1200 SBC, which features stackable daughter boards, PoE, wing extensions, and Linux- and Android support.

Status — The HIO Wallpad was intended to ship in July to Kickstarter backers, starting at $139. The project failed to meet its funding goals, but Habey now informs us it intends to release the product in early 2015 in kit form. This will follow the also delayed HIO-EMB-1200 board, which will ship in January. The HIO kit will be released in 3.5-, 7-, and 10.1-inch touchscreen versions. The SBC delay is said to be due in part to the need to accommodate several ODM projects based on the SBC, which are also in production stage. The delay will also enable the development of a full set of Yocto Linux images and Qt environment as an alternative to the default Ubuntu stack, thereby enabling easier application development, says Habey.


iBox Nano


Description — Billed as the “world’s smallest, cheapest 3D resin printer,” the$269 iBox Nano offers WiFi and 328-micron resolution, and runs Linux on a Raspberry Pi. While most 3D printers builds objects with plastic, the iBox Nano uses resin. The 235 x 119 x 85mm device is the first resin printer to use LCD-based UV technology instead of lasers or DLP projection. It’s also the world’s quietest (29 decibels) and lightest (1.1-kilogram) 3D printer using any technology, claims iBox Printers. In addition, it runs on an average of only 2.7 Watts, and can run on batteries, making it the world’s most power-efficient 3D printer, according to the company.

Status — Devices ranging from $269 to $399 for the developers version will ship to Kickstarter backers between February and April, 2015.




Description — The uClinux-based iCon is an open spec SBC aimed at IoT applications. It runs on a 120MHz NXP LPC1788 Cortex-M3 processor, along with 64MB of SDRAM and 32MB flash. This LCD-ready MCU supports the SBC’s optional resistive, 4.3- and 7-inch touchscreens. The iCon is equipped with WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB, and CAN, and runs on less than 2 Watts. No video or camera input is supported.

Status — On its Kickstarter page, Amptek said it was going ahead with the iCon, win or lose. The company did not yet respond to our email request for confirmation, however.




Description — This consumer network security appliance runs OpenWRT Linux and the Snort IPS stack on a MIPS64-based Cavium SoC. The $149 device sits between your Internet source and WiFi router, acting as a security firewall while providing both prevention and detection systems. The device can also filter out malware and “undesirable content.”

Status — This Kickstarter Staff Pick appears to be on schedule for a late February release to Kickstarter backers who paid anywhere from $99 to $149. That is also when others can receive one if they pre-order now at $179 on Itus Networks’ website.




Description — Inspired by research led by Jibo CEO Cynthia Breazeal at the MIT Media Lab, Jibo is designed to communicate and interact with people in a social, human-like manner. The 6-pound, 11-inch tall bot has no legs or wheels, but you can carry it around the house like the little cyber-baby it somewhat resembles. Jibo has three full-revolute axes, enabling it to rotate and shift position vertically to face people addressing it. You can interact with Jibo via voice, mobile app, or its round, HD touchscreen, which presents animations, multimedia services, and video calls. The WiFi-enabled robot is equipped with touch sensors, dual high-resolution cameras, speakers, and 360° microphones that enable conversations from across the room. An open SDK is also promised.

Status — Jibo blasted past its $100,000 goal to almost $2.3 million. Funders who ordered the bot for $499 apiece must wait for the originally promised ship date of Dec. 2015. A Nov. 12 blog entry included a new video of Jibo acting as a photographer.




Description — A robot by any other name, the Keecker is billed as a mobile pico projector and camera for the home. The ovoid, Android-based tech pet navigates with the help of smartphone instructions, as well as a mix of ultrasound, gyroscopes, magnetometer, a 3D depth camera, and a 360-degree HD camera. The device integrates surround sound wireless speakers, an HD-ready, 1,000-lumens pico projector, and 1TB of storage. The Keecker may even have a future as a home automation hub — the device integrates air quality, humidity, and temperature sensors, and the camera is suitable for surveillance duty

Status — Despite Kickstarter pricing starting at $2,490 or $2,990, depending on how early you got in, the Keecker far surpassed its funding goal. Perhaps funders saw it as a bargain compared to the eventual commercial price of $5,000. As far as we know, the mobile projector may well be on target to hit its May 2015 shipping goal.




Description — The Lumera is an open source Linux camera attachment for one-click transfers to the cloud via WiFi. The device sits between the camera and the tripod, and offers GPS tagging, High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos, time-lapse photography, and live streaming to a mobile device. The device’s OLED display works in conjunction with a mobile app available on Android or iOS, used for setting up the device.

Status — After failing to reach its funding goal, Lumera Labs plans to try again at some point, apparently on Kickstarter. The developers says they learned a lot from the funding round, such as why it’s a bad idea to run a campaign close to the winter holidays. It’s unclear if they will go with the same $140 Canadian ($125) price, a discount from the eventually planned 190 CAD ($170).




Description — This $25 open-spec HDMI stick is the first Firefox OS-based media player. Created by some Mozilla developers who formed a startup, the Matchstick offers Chromecast-like content casting called “flinging” using the same DIAL (DIscovery And Launch) media-casting protocol as the Chromecast. You can fling content to the device from Android, iOS, and Firefox OS phones, as well as from any device running Chrome or Firefox browsers. The device is equipped with a dual-core Rockchip RK3066 SoC, and can run hundreds of apps available in the Mozilla Firefox OS store. It will ship with Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, ABC, ESPN, Vudu, YouTube, Spotify, and others.

Status — apparently shipped some developer units already and will send the bulk of the orders in February to backers who paid as little as $18. The device will retail for $25.




Description — The MOD Duo is a music pedalboard with virtual pedals for 100-plus guitar and voice effects. The soundboard runs Linux on an Allwinner A20 SoC, and is equipped with two audio inputs, two audio outputs, a stereo headphone output, and MIDI-in and -out. The pedalboard controller provides a USB device port, plus a USB host port for adding Bluetooth, WiFi adapters, and MIDI peripherals. An Arduino connector supports Arduino shields, including an optional $20 shield with weight, light, heartbeat, and other sensors. Foot pedals and foot switches are also optional.

Status — The project appears to be on schedule for shipment from April through July 2015, depending on the package. Prices started at $299, a discount from the eventual $399 price.


MotherBone PiOne


Description — The MotherBone PiOne is a 3.5-inch baseboard that adapts a BeagleBone Black and/or Raspberry Pi for use in real-world applications. The product aims to fix limitations relative to “real world expandability,” especially in regard to the BeagleBone Black’s power isolation issues.

Status — The project appears to have been discontinued. There was no response to our email query.




Description — This OpenWRT Linux and AllJoyn AllPlay-enabled wireless speaker and Internet radio doubles as a home automation hub. The Musaic can stream music from an Android or iOS device to one or more Musaic systems via WiFi or Bluetooth, as well as stream from PCs, Macs, NAS drives, or UPnP/DLNA servers. Multiple devices can play the same music tracks simultaneously, or each can play independently. The Musaic is available in two different versions: a 60-Watt MP10 and a smaller, 36W MP5 model.

Status — The Musaic appears to have shipped on schedule in September to Kickstarter backers, who paid as little as $269 for the MP5 model. No public pre-orders are currently available. Musiac was selected for the John Lewis JLAB challenge, and was chosen as a 2015 Honoree for the CES Innovation Awards.




Description — Emlid’s Navio turns the Raspberry Pi into an autopilot for terrestrial robots, cars, boats, submarines, multi-rotor UAVs, planes, and other mobile robots, says the company. The Pi shield incorporates an inertial measurement unit, a barometric altimeter, a servo control, and optional GPS. The Pi, meanwhile, contributes computer vision, HD video streaming, and more.

Status — Emlid fulfilled its Indiegogo orders in October, which is a fairly typical two to three month delay. It’s now publicly available and in stock starting at $149, just slightly higher than the Indiegogo price. Since then, Emlid has made progress on its APM (ArduPilot) port, which when complete, will enable Navio-controlled drones in addition to robots. The Navio is one of the first Linux implementations of the open source APM platform along with the Erle-brain.


Ninja Sphere


Description — This successor to the Ninja Block hub continues the tradition of offering an open source Linux, Arduino-compatible home automation system. The Ninja Sphere adds a dynamic new hardware design, as well as an LED display, gesture controls, and smart tags. The latter, enabled with the help of two gateways, provides Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based location tracking for wallets, keys, pets, and more. The Ninja Sphere offers increased support for third-party devices, and is also available with homegrown options including motion detectors, contact closures, pushbuttons, and temperature and humidity sensors. The device adds ZigBee, WiFi, and BLE, in addition to the earlier 433MHz RF radio.

Status — In this Q&A with Ninja Blocks CEO Daniel Friedman in early November, we found the project would not meet its August ship date, and appeared to be on track for a revised December ship date. There was no response to our email query, however. Backers paid between $199 and $259 for the device, which is currently available for pre-sale at the Ninja Blocks website for $329, with one free Smart Tag.


Open Source Remote Control


Description — Gizmo For You’s Open Source Remote Control (OSRC) is designed to act as a hackable universal controller for all types of “drones, filming, UAV control and general RC.” The Linux-based device integrates a modular, removable FPVC (First Person View Computer) unit, which features a 4.8-inch, 800 x 480-pixel, full-color touchscreen.

Status — Gizmo For You did not get very far in its Indiegogo campaign, where pricing started at 350 euros ($430) ranging up to 1,250 euros. The campaign may have failed in part due to the confusing presentation of information, especially considering the complexity of the product. The company plans to try one more Indiegogo campaign, using a new design – the fourth iteration since the original prototype was developed in 2011. The product will not look anything like the original, writes chief developer Demetris Rouslan Zavorotnitsienko. It will be entirely built with 3D printing. No definite plans were announced, however.




Description — OPI is an Ubuntu-based private file and email server with LUKS-based microSD encryption, and optional USB or cloud backup. The device supports multiple users, providing synchronized access to files, multiple email accounts, and shared calendars and contacts. An Ethernet port is the sole communications conduit, with all data encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Status — OpenProducts intended to ship OPI in June, but did not fulfill the backlog until it released version 1.0 of the OPI software in September. Pricing for new orders is only slightly more expensive, at $119 plus $7 with an 8GB memory card or $49 with a 64GB card.


Personal Drone Detection System


Description — The Linux-based Personal Drone Detection System detects nearby drones using mesh grid triangulation. The device is based on the MotherBone PiOne (see above), another APlus Mobile Kickstarter project that failed to win funding.

Status — This drone detector may be a few years ahead of its time, but something like it may be on every celebrity’s gift list by the end of the decade. Unlike the underlying MotherBone PiOne, the Detection System is not listed on the APlus Mobile site, and there was no response to our email query about future plans.




Description — The Processor Independent Embedded Platform (PIEP) is a snap-together, modular, DIY control system with a wide range of processor and I/O boards, and a future Linux option. The stackable design enables up to 36 peripherals modules — out of 21 different options — to fit on one motherboard.

Status — We received no response to our email query about this unfunded product, which had been intended to ship in January through March, depending on the package. Prices ranged from $140 to $950. No news has been posted on the E3 site since August.


Pi-Stick and Pi-STB


Description — The Linux-based, Raspberry Pi compatible Pi-Stick and Pi-STB media players are available in HDMI stick and set-top form-factors, respectively. The processor and RAM are the same as on the Pi, and they add a 4GB flash card. They both offer WiFi and an HDMI port. The Pi-Stick adds a micro-USB port and an IR receiver socket, while the STB model instead adds a USB host port, 10/100 Ethernet, audio, an IR Blaster socket, and three IR Blasters.

Status — The Pi-Stick and Pi-STB went nowhere on Kickstarter, but are still on the I2P Designs website in “under construction” pages. We received no response from our email query.


Pi Vessel


Description — The Pi Vessel is a mini-PC based on a Raspberry Pi Model B or B+ with an “ultra-strong aluminum case,” AC power supply, and optional WiFi. The device was available at $89 without a Pi or $129 with.

Status — There’s still no company website for the unfunded Pi Vessel, so we assume there are no plans to go forward with the project. We received no response from our email query.


Q System


Description — The Q System is an AllJoyn and OpenWRT Linux music and lighting device from MIT spinoff Belleds. The gizmo syncs special smart bulbs to mobile music that the Q streams to a stereo. The Q features a WiFi router for passing along music streamed from an Android or iOS device to an existing music system. You can cue up an automatic or customized light show based on the music or your apps presets, or configure the bulbs to respond to mobile device events like alarms or incoming phone calls. The Q uses a patented 2.4GHz RF signal to communicate with the low-cost, low-power colored LED bulbs.

Status — It’s unclear whether Belleds met its Dec. 2014 shipping goals. There was no response to our email. Kickstarter pricing was listed at $89 and $99.




Description — The Sherlybox is a network-attached storage (NAS) device that generates a private, encrypted invite-only cloud network. Invited visitors share public data or add their own, and can also download or sync files. The slightly ovoid device is based on the peer-to-peer VPN and file-sharing software. Features include WiFi, Ethernet, HDMI, audio, a USB 2.0 hub, and a 2.5-inch HDD bay. The original was based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, but new buyers get a faster system equipped with the Banana Pi SBC, a hackable RPi Model B clone that runs on the dual-core Allwinner A20.

Status — Originally scheduled to ship in November, the Sherlybox has been delayed until March. The delay is being blamed on components that are temporarily stuck in Chinese Customs. Pre-orders filed now for $299 (1TB HDD) or $399 (2TB) also ship in March. Kickstarters paid only $149 without storage or $199 with 1TB.


Skully AR-1


Description — The high-tech AR-1 motorcycle helmet features a head-up display (HUD) in the lower right corner that displays the video feed from a rear-view camera with a near 180 degree viewing angle. The adjustable camera’s wide viewing angle is claimed to remove blind spots. The transparent HUD display can toggle to either a simplified or comprehensive turn-by-turn, audio-enhanced navigation interface. The Skully AR-1 provides access to streaming music and additional navigation data from a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. Voice controls let you receive or make phone calls hands free.

Status — The AR-1 was a multimillion dollar Indiegogo success, and on Dec. 5, the company opened up general pre-orders at $1,499 through Jan. 8. All the helmets appear to be on schedule to ship in mid-2015, starting with a May 2015 deadline for the Indiegogo funders.




Description — The Slice media player runs Linux and a customized version of Kodi (XBMC) on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. The device integrates three USB ports, plus HDMI, Ethernet, and optical audio ports. The device is notable for its optional 1TB HDD, as well as an LED lighting band with 25 programmable LEDs.

Status — The Slice was scheduled to ship in December, but is now slated for Jan. 2015. There’s no news about a commercial launch. Kickstarters paid 109 Pounds ($171) for a preview version that lacks a pre-installed HDD, or 164 Pounds ($257) for the 1TB version.




Description — The Soap combines router and home automation features in a quad-core, 7-inch Android tablet equipped with 802.11ac, ZigBee, Z-Wave, BLE, NFC, and RFID. Four gigabit Ethernet ports are provided for wired routing, and there’s also a pair of USB 3.0 ports. The Soap ships with a 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 32GB SATA SSD, with options for larger SSDs and HDDs. The software, which includes a mobile app, offers screen mirroring support, ad-blocking, parental controls, and a variety of security-minded applications.

Status — Imsoap did not respond to our query about whether the Soap shipped to backers, but if it did, it did not appear to ship on time. The last blog entry came in July, the same month the devices were supposed to start shipping, when the company announced it had received its first circuit board for testing. On Kickstarter, the Soap went for $150, or $80 for a non-touchscreen Soap Essentials version. The Kickstarter page listed a quad-core Samsung Exynos4412 SoC, but the Imsoap website now lists four products available for pre-sale that instead use the similarly Cortex-A9 based Freescale i.MX6. The quad-core version costs $400, with either a 7- or 8.4-inch screen, while the 7-inch Dual and Solo models go for $300 and $220, respectively.


Stack Box


Description — The Stack Box home automation hub offers WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Z-Wave connectivity, with optional future support for XBee, Insteon, Dust Networks, and X10 powerline. The device supports WeMo devices as well as a variety of third-party smart locks, LED lights, and other Z-Wave-based smart devices. The Stack Box runs Linux on an ARM11 Cavium processor, and features an Ethernet port, five USB 2.0 ports, a serial port, and “optocoupler” I/O. The open source product will offer cloud services, an app store, an open SDK, and even Raspberry Pi expansion bus compatibility.

Status — We cannot be certain the Stack Box shipped on schedule in December, as the website is uninformative on the subject, and we received no response to our email. Kickstarter prices started at $79, with final pricing expected to be $149.


The Egg


Description — The Egg is a mobile personal web server that runs Tizen Linux on an Intel Atom processor. Starting at $199 with 64GB, the oval-shaped device features a 12-hour battery, a 2.4-inch touchscreen, and up to 256GB of storage. The Egg was billed as a more private alternative to public cloud storage and social networking sites.

Status — On Oct. 29, after making little headway on its half million dollar goal, Arizona-based startup Eggcyte canceled the campaign. In response to our query, Eggcyte informed us it is planning to re-launch a campaign in mid-January.




Description — The TouchPico is an Android 4.2 mini-PC that doubles as a pico-projector and approximates touch input via an infrared stylus and camera. The stylus sends out infrared signals that are tracked by a camera located next to the TouchPico’s projector lens. The stylus input is said to operate at 40fps. Android apps require no modification to offer touch input, including dragging and drawing, says TouchPico. The device can project an 80-inch display at 854 x 480-pixels with 80-lumens brighteness. Other features include HDMI, AV/VGA, USB OTG, and audio ports, an SD slot, a battery, and wireless mouse support.

Status — The TouchPico scored big time on Indiegogo, and was supposed to have been sent out in October to backers, who each paid $329. However, it was delayed several times, and won’t ship until January or February. Frustrated backers who have asked for refunds on the Indiegogo page have been told it’s impossible because TouchPico has spent all the money on the hardware. Assuming this promising looking device ever ships, it will eventually sell commercially for $499. At least that was the plan. There was no response to our email query, and there’s still no website.


USB Armory


Description — Aimed at secure computing applications, this tiny SBC runs Linux or Android on a Freescale i.MX53 SoC, and offers Trustzone, secure boot, and USB emulation. The 65 x 19mm USB Armory has a USB 2.0 OTG port and a microSD slot. USB device emulation covers mass storage, HID, and Ethernet, with the latter enabled via a full bidrectional TCP/IP connection using CDC Ethernet emulation.

Status — The $130 USB Armory was recently funded and still has a month to go. Shipments are due in March.




Description — The Wiley is — or was — a portable Android-based streaming media player with a 7-inch touchscreen, 90dB speakers, WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, and a webcam. Auris also sells an $80, Linux-based Skye accessory, which claims to turn any music dock into a WiFi enabled music streamer using AirPlay and DLNA.

Status — Two days after we posted our coverage of the Wiley Kickstarter campaign, we updated our story with news that Auris had canceled the project due to a problem with the contractor. All $54,081 in funding was returned to 298 backers. Auris hinted at a future Kickstarter project for a similar device, but none has emerged.



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0 responses to “Checking up on 2014’s crowdfunded Linux and Android devices”

  1. Floyd Lau says:

    The iCon with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is indeed available for purchase online. Amptek currently has two distributors. Anyone interested can visit for details.

  2. Floyd Lau says:

    Further to our update, an iCon with a Cortex-M4 is now available for purchase online. Anyone interested can visit for details.

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