Android-powered Kickstarter MiiPC has been delayed until September, the team behind the affordable “family computer” have revealed, over chip supplier issues, though the start-up says it will use the time to improve the product for early-bird backers. MiiPC, which raised more than 3.5x times its $50k crowdfunding goal back in May, had been expected to make the first shipments of the palm-sized PCs in July. However, the company explained to SlashGear, delays at the supplier of MiiPC’s core chipset in delivering the necessary multimedia software component has forced a push back by around two months.
At fault is the OpenMax component, a piece of multimedia middleware that allows for communication between software and the various relevant hardware components. Without the final version from the chipset manufacturer, MiiPC can’t finalize its own software, and so the computer can’t ship.
However, there will be an upside to the roadmap change. Initially, MiiPC’s roughly 298 early-bird backers only had a single choice of casing color – glossy white – but, thanks to the September release, they’ll now be able to choose between different finishes. The casings will also have a “special Kickstarter logo” and MiiPC will upgrade them all to air shipping for faster deliveries.
That comes on top of improvements made to the design – may of which have come from backer feedback – that MiiPC has made along the way. For instance, the computer will now have a microphone, run Jelly Bean v4.2.2 rather than Ice Cream Sandwich, and have support for Skype, all features added to the original concept. There’s also support for Android’s Voice Command system, meaning the MiiPC can be instructed to open apps or even take dictation simply by speaking to it.
MiiPC knows that, even with benefits thrown in, the delay is going to be a disappointment to backers, who have been vocal in their support for the project and their suggestions for potential improvements. “We have been working very hard to build the best possible product for everyone, and have so far been exceedingly proud that our internal MiiPC development, including many improvements on the original design, has been able to stay on course” chief product officer Richard Sah told SlashGear of the delay.
“We were very disappointed when we were informed of the delay in the release of the firmware from our chipset provider. We had little choice but to defer the MiiPC delivery date to coincide with the availability of the firmware” Sah continued. “We felt that was important to immediately alert our Kickstarter backers. A delay is not what we wanted or were expecting however we are not willing to compromise the quality of MiiPC. Our backers deserve the high quality product that we promised and that is what we will deliver.”
All backers have been notified of the delay as of today, and early-bird backers will still be first to get their units. As soon as that’s completed, those expecting deliveries in August will follow on, with the MiiPC team expecting to be back on schedule after that point.