Lima Finally Ships Its Dropbox Alternative To Its Kickstarter Backers, Sort Of

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It’s been a long time coming. French startup Lima is shipping its device to its 12,840 Kickstarter backers two years after raising $1.2 million on the crowdfunding platform. This showcases the long and windy road for many hardware startups that launch a crowdfunding campaign too early.

As a reminder, Lima is a small device that you plug in to your router using Ethernet, and you plug the other end into an external USB drive. It will then seamlessly transform your USB drives into a personal Dropbox for all your devices. It’s a sort of dumbed-down NAS with native OS integration. And it costs around $100.

For user, you avoid paying a monthly subscription fee on Dropbox or Google Drive, and you get more privacy as everything is hosted in your house. Moreover, Lima syncs everything, meaning that you don’t have to put your data in a special folder. You will be able to retrieve all your files on all your devices.

As you can see, this is a very ambitious plan. Taking over your entire file system and building a reliable solution so that you don’t lose data takes time. In particular, the software part took much longer to develop.

And while I was ready to say “they finally did it!”, Lima is just shipping the hardware part — software is not ready yet. After a long private beta phase that started in December 2014, backers still won’t be able to let Lima take over the entire file system — this option will remain grayed out until at least September. Lima will only manage part of your files for now.

When Lima launched its Kickstarter campaign, Dropbox’s 200 GB premium account cost $20 per month. Now you can get 1 TB for $10. Similarly, Microsoft now gives you 1 TB on OneDrive when you get an Office 365 subscription. More and more people now have a fiber connection at home and it is speedy enough to consider storing your files in the cloud instead of on your local device.

This is a very different landscape for Lima, and backers who truly believe in the project have been waiting for years while alternatives have become cheaper and more reliable. Nothing can beat Lima’s privacy features. But will that be enough to convince backers?