Today we started shipping the Mark 1. It is going to take us a while to get them all shipped, but most backers can expect to receive their units within the next 6 to 8 weeks.
As you'll see when you open the box, the first thing that pops up is a red “STOP” card. This card is there to prevent disappointment from backers who are expecting a retail quality user experience immediately.
Though we've come a long way over the past year, we are not yet to the point where we can provide the type of user experience that customers have come to expect from technologies such as Google Home or Amazon Echo.
We still have a lot of work to do in order to improve wake word recognition. The voice user experience is still a bit clunky and the skills we've developed need significant work. We also have many skills that need to be developed. These include inter-device voice channels, Spotify, Roku, and several others.
To put the required resources in perspective; our friends at Amazon acquired three companies, spent four years and tens of millions of dollars building Alexa's voice services. Here at Mycroft we've made great progress in the 18 months we've had available, but we still aren't at par. We are, however, actively working on it.
This summer we've hired 10 additional software engineers, designers, and business professionals to help us move faster. We've also brought in a full-time Community Manager. We've also been working closely with our community to set goals and are working hand-in-hand with developers around the world to achieve them.
For those of you who want to help develop Mycroft, or build skills on top of the technology, please open up your unit, get it online, join our Slack channel, select a task to work on, and help us identify and fix bugs. We need help with feature development, test coverage and a host of other tasks. Your help is both needed and welcome.
For folks who want that out-of-the-box consumer experience, please set your Mark 1 on a shelf until February 28, 2018 when we plan to release our first production beta (18.02b). By then most of the skills we promised our Kickstarter backers should be complete and the user experience will be significantly better than it is today.
As always, thank you for your patience and support. Without your help, we would never have had the opportunity to build this great technology.