In a somewhat surprising development in the ADzero bamboo smartphone's journey to market, its application to launch a crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter has been rejected by the website.
Gizmag has watched the progress of ADzero closely, and so it seems logical to report significant steps in its development, even if they're steps backwards.
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In a message sent to ADzero, seen by Gizmag, Kickstarter said the following:
"Thanks for taking the time to share you project with us, but this project is not a good fit for Kickstarter."
"Product Design is a category with unique challenges and not all projects fall within our focus. We know building a project and submitting it for review is a lot of work, and we're sorry to have bad news to report."
Having questioned the decision, ADzero received a follow-up message, which ADzero has published, in which Kickstarter said the following:
"We took another look at the project after your message and, although we appreciate the hard work you've put into this project, it is unfortunately not the best fit for Kickstarter. This isn't a judgment on the quality of the project, but a reflection of our focus."
Though smartphones are a far cry from 3D printers, it is a field of technology awash with patent disputes, and so one wonders whether 3D Systems' recent naming of Kickstarter in a patent lawsuit against Formlabs has any bearing on the decision.
Unfortunately this is a major upset to ADzero, which, having confirmed a final specification for its bamboo mobile phone, had settled on Kickstarter as its first route to market for the Android device.
ADzero has formulated a new plan which will see a China-based operations team to move forward with production of the phone, while a UK-based team will form a design consultancy called K&F Design Studio. However, the fate of the ADzero phone itself is not yet certain.
This won't be the first time Kickstarter has knocked back products of course, and it's essential not to read too much into a one-off case. But it's at least eye-opening that it would reject a product design as apparently well advanced as the ADzero. It's a product that has generated significant media interest: a factor one would think would weigh in its favor.
ADzero says it respects Kickstarter's decision, but one hopes Kickstarter will clarify its reasons for the rejection, if only to better inform other designers' business plans. That product design poses "unique challenges," isn't really news to people that have developed an idea so far as ADzero has with its bamboo smartphone.
December 5 update: Kickstarter declined to comment on the matter.