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Delays hit first shipment of Pebble Smartwatch

The makers of the Pebble Smartwatch today delayed their first shipment, saying instead that the devices will ship "as soon as possible."

Pebble initially said it would start shipping the device in September. That, however, was before the smartphone-connected watch hit Kickstarter, earned $10 million (£6.43 million), and racked up 85,000 orders.

"Our first timetable was created before we launched on Kickstarter, when we were expecting to manufacture just 1,000 Pebbles," Pebble said in a note posted to Kickstarter.

Since its Kickstarter campaign closed on 18 May, Pebble said its team has been "bouncing back and forth between Palo Alto and Taipei." Pebble selected a Taipei-based R&D facility with manufacturing and assembly operations in China.

"In terms of our schedule, we're sticking pretty closely to an aggressive timetable," Pebble said. "While we won't be able to start shipping Pebbles in September, our current schedule has us on track to go from manufacturing zero to 15,000 Pebbles per week as soon as possible."

At this point, the Pebble team is in an "Engineering Verification" stage, which involves evaluating each of the smartwatch's components - case, lens, circuit board, charge cable - to see if any tweaks are necessary.

"The design needs to be nearly perfect before we move into a phase called 'tooling' during which the factory creates hardened steel tools for injection molding Pebble's plastic components," Pebble said.

While the project is still on track, the delay highlights the difficulty in bringing some of these hardware-based Kickstarter projects to fruition. The team can't exactly make 85,000 Pebble smartwatches in their basement; they need a sustainable hardware supply chain. And while they've secured that for the first round, what happens when the $10 million runs out? We'll be keeping tabs on how the situation unfolds.