Editor’s note: Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and blogs at Techspressive. Each column will look at crowdfunded products that have either met or missed their funding goals. Follow him on Twitter @rossrubin.
Backed or Whacked first explored the murky underworld of iPad wearing devices last November. The GoPad saw its Kickstarter campaign whacked despite a temptation-inducing expository video. With a resounding harumph regarding Kickstarter’s unfriendliness toward sales-oriented projects, inventor Peter Kielland tried again on Indiegogo. Unfortunately, he also fell short there, collecting less than $1,000 of his $50,000 goal.
That double-dip in the pool of rejection, though, wasn’t enough to stop the GoPad, which is now not only available for pre-order after having sold out its initial run at $89, but is taking on a new version for the iPad mini. Perhaps Kielland’s persistence will inspire a trio of Kickstarter newcomers seeking to keep their favorite tablets at the ready as they use their hands to count their crowdfund-delivered bounty.
Backed: Trego. Rhyming with “Diego,” (not “ego” or “Lego”) Trego most resembles the GoPad in its multipurpose design. Whereas the GoPad takes a more minimalist, stand-first approach and added a cover for a bit of on-the-go protection, the Trego attacks the problem from a standpoint of padded case primacy. It offers a few extra benefits, including the ability to use the iPad in portrait orientation, as well as extra storage for a wireless keyboard, charger and other items that don’t fit in your wristband.
For some time into the campaign, it appeared as though Trego was capable of holding nearly everything except the keys to success. However, late in the game, the project saw an unusual funding spurt clearing the finish line only $30 above its $20,000 goal.
Whacked: Tribunga. Ananda Svarupa Das, the Hawaiian creator of the Tribunga, describes his creation as a “triflex bipod,” but you can just call it that thing that looks like the terrifying body-engulfing alien serpent that haunts your nightmares. Like other products that have gone the crowdfunding route, such as Realize, Inc.’s once-whacked, finally backed Manatee, the GorillaPod-like stand can be used to get your tablet into the ideal position for content consumption in bed or on the sofa. These capabilities are aptly demonstrated against the musical backdrop of Für Elise in the campaign video.
However, the Tribunga is no couch potato. It can support an iPad at chest level while standing or walking (although probably not with the degree of stability that the Trego provides). It also seems like it might work well as a video stabilizer if one deigns to touch it. With a backer price starting at $30, the Tribunga stood to be a relatively inexpensive way to keep your iPad or other portable electronic device on your person. However, the campaign wound down with only about 10 percent of the $20,000 requested.
Whacked: iWorm. In a category of products that is a mass of metal placed within range of the magnet of dorkiness, the iWorm stands out. Resembling a mutated stethoscope, the iWorm braces the weight of the iPad — and the rest of its form — around the shoulder blades and chest. Creator Jeffrey Gu lays out the tongue-in-cheek ultimatum plainly: “Basically, you get to decide between having pain therapy or having the iWorm. There are only two choices in this world.” Gu stirs no controversy in readily admitting that the prototype could use some design enhancement. That said, the best design embellishment without a doubt is the presence of smiley faces on the two green balls that rest the iWorm against the front of the person with enough emotional fortitude to wear it.
In the world of Gu, $18,000 is required to bring the iWorm to market. However, only a few people have been willing to pledge the $79 to acquire it, none of whom have ponied up for the $499 pledge level that includes a phone call from the inventor. Perhaps a Skype call delivered hands-free via the iWorm would have made a difference. Hmm. No. It wouldn’t have.