17 Jan JANUARY UPDATE
Hey guys! We hope your new year is going great so far!
As we promised in the last update, we’ve been working diligently through the holidays and into this year. We want to keep you involved in the entire process so this update will cover everything that’s taken place since our last update. As you saw in the last update, the cards were designed, we started the manufacturing process and the app was just about wrapped up so we’ll pick up from there!
We know we mentioned there would be weekly updates in our December update but that’s proven to be a challenge. We’ve gone through a few holidays since then and each update takes a considerable amount of time to produce. Honestly, we’ve been so busy that we needed to lower the priority we placed on the updates in order to get everything done to the standards which we set. We want to make sure that you’re part of the process. If you need clarification on anything, or more information on any part of the process, please feel free to message us on Kickstarter or via our website. We’ll be glad to provide more details at any point!
This update will include less images and more text because of the nature of the work we’ve been doing. Sorry for the long read!
This is some of our biggest news so far; we’re submitting the SALT App to Apple so they can review it for the App Store on Monday! This was our biggest hurdle but we managed to put together an app that follows Apple’s very strict guidelines and functions in the way we described. A little creative thinking and a ton of hard work went a long way and now we’re excitedly waiting to hear back from Apple! We’ll obviously let you know as soon as we hear back!
While we wait, here is the icon we’ll be using for the SALT App for iOS:
APP STORE REVEIW
In order to maintain a safe and trustworthy environment for their iOS users, Apple reviews every app that’s listed on the App Store. The review process covers a variety of segments including the interface, experience, security and standards of the app.
The process starts by building your app and uploading it for testing along with all the other information that’s available when you click on an app on the App Store. Apple then reviews it and responds with an approval or denial. If they deny the app, which typically happens on your first submission, they give you the exact reasons so the app can be adjusted and resubmitted. If you fulfill all their requests, they approve the app and it can be posted on the App Store!
The main concern during the Kickstarter campaign was how we implemented the locking and unlocking of the phone. Apple is very strict about their security and they don’t allow developers to touch any part of their security settings. We had about 12 different solutions to this problem and were able to find one that is completely within these guidelines but gives us the functionality we need. Since there’s no way to show the actual app yet, here are the screenshots of the app that we’re submitting for review:
ANDROID APP AND REVIEW PROCESS
Android has a much quicker and simpler submission process. Google still reviews apps posted to the Play Store but they’ll allow you to touch any aspect of Android, including the security settings. That makes it a lot easier to develop the SALT App for Android. Once we ship out the SALT Cards, we’ll post the SALT App to the Play Store so everyone will have access to it. We’ll also continue improving the app until then so that you’ll get the best version we’ve put together!
CURRENT SALT CARD STATUS AND TIMELINE
We started production of the SALT Cards right before our last update and obtained all the certifications necessary to sell and ship the SALT Cards. The last qualification we’re in the process of obtaining is the Bluetooth qualification we mentioned in the last update. We’ve submitted everything so now it’s just a matter of timing but we should get the qualification very shortly!
In terms of manufacturing, we just received an update (on January 14th) from our manufacturer about the Bluetooth chips we’re using. Our goal was to use the latest technology in order to ensure the best experience and battery life. It turns out that a very large phone manufacturer, we aren’t allowed to say who, wanted to use the same chips. They placed a huge order right after us, and because of the volume they requested, they got priority for the Bluetooth chips. Our chips ended up going to them and there’s nothing we can do about it because of their size. After a few angry phone calls, we realized there was little we’d be able to do with this supplier.
We decided to order the chips from another supplier but had to pay a little more for them. This way, we’ll be able to get the chips in by January 23rd and can continue the manufacturing process immediately after that. The rest of the manufacturing process is locked down and the materials are ready to go but we can’t do anything without the Bluetooth chips. Once we get the chips delivered, it’ll take another two weeks to wrap up the manufacturing and get the cards shipped to us.
This is the latest information we have from the manufacturer so it’s the most accurate timing we have at the moment. Obviously, if we can speed up the process in any way, we will and we’ll post an update about it!
SALT CARD DETAILS
Our last update showed you the design of the card so we’d like to fill in some of the technical information as well. Aside from using newer, more advanced Bluetooth chips, we were able to upgrade the antenna so the range has been increased significantly. It actually makes it tough to test the SALT Apps because we have to make sure the card isn’t seen by the phone. Sometime we have to leave the SALT Card outside to make sure it’s out of range!
Not to worry though, we’ve implemented the distance feature for our first release of the app. You’ll be able to tune the distance from just a few feet to over 30 feet based on your particular needs. The distance feature is customizable per SALT Card so you can have one that’s tuned to a few feet and also have one that covers a room at your home or office.
The height and width of the card are the same as a credit card but measures just less than three credit cards stacked on top of each other. We’ve tested the SALT Card in about 30 different wallets and it fits into every slot in each of them. I use a super slim wallet and it still fits perfectly amongst all the other cards I need to carry. This is one of the concrete design criteria that we’re following and so far we haven’t found any wallets that won’t fit the SALT Card! It’s still accepted everywhere your credit cards are!
Shipping was definitely one of our biggest challenges. Shipping out 6,000 cards is a daunting task so we had to streamline the process to be efficient. We decided to use USPS as our carrier because we’ve used them successfully for other products in the past and they’re easily the most effective for packaging of this size.
Shipping such a large volume of cards poses some logistic problems but USPS makes it easier if you sign up for a few things through them. The main thing is a bulk shipping permit. This permit states that you can send a large volume of mail and that USPS trusts you to pre-sort your mail before you drop it off. There is a discount on pre-sorted mail because USPS no longer has to sort all the mail you drop off but sorting the mail yourself can be tricky.
All the items have to be sorted based on their destination. While that might be easier for a smaller quantity of mail, we had to hire a company that would organize all the information we receive via Kickstarter, and sort it for us. This will cut down on shipping times and make sure that the all the SALT Cards get to their destination!
PACKAGING AND SHIPPING
We’re excited to receive the packaging by Tuesday, January 20th! We posted the images of the mockups in our last update but we ordered the full quantity of 12,000 prints, 6,000 folded cards and 6,000 envelopes, shortly after. When you print one thing, a small mistake doesn’t matter too much but it makes a HUGE difference with a full run. Needless to say, we checked everything hundreds of times before we nervously hit the send button and can’t wait to get the final product.
Once we get the packaging, we’ll be printing all the addresses and postage on the envelopes. After that, we’ll just have to put the SALT Cards in the envelopes and drop them off at the post office. All our U.S. orders will take up to a few days to deliver and our international orders will take slightly longer depending on the destination country.
Thank you to everyone that’s filled out the survey we sent via Kickstarter! It’s really important that everyone fills out the survey because that’s the way we get everyone’s address. If you need to adjust your address for any reason, you can click the link in the survey email that Kickstarter sent and it’ll take you to a page where you can update your address. Please send us a message if you have any other questions about the survey or the shipping address!
As we said in the “SHIPPING COORDINATION” section, we’re ready to ship as soon as we receive the SALT Cards from the manufacturer. We’ll just make sure that all the cards are up to our standards, place them in the envelopes and send them out! The cards are the last thing we’re waiting for so that’s our bottle neck at this point.
We’ll let everyone know when the SALT App for iOS gets approved by Apple but other than that, we’ll keep improving the apps until you receive your cards and beyond. The apps are never done and we’ll be adding new features and functions over the next year so we might as well use the additional time to get you an even better version of the app as the first version you use!
We’re just as disappointed about the latest update to the manufacturing schedule as everyone. We were able to get everything else organized and delivered on time but the main part is taking a little longer than expected and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to speed it up. It’s extremely frustrating because of all the hard work and planning we’ve put in. Looking on the plus side, it will allow us to make sure we have everything else 100% ready to go so it’ll just be a matter of putting the SALT Cards in the packaging and dropping them off with USPS.
We hope that you’ll understand the position we’re in at the moment and that we’re doing everything we can to speed things up. It’s in our best interest to make sure our backers are happy and that’s been our goal throughout the entire Kickstarter campaign. While we’re sure some backers will be frustrated, just as we are, we hope that we’ll still have your support.
Please don’t hesitate to send us a message here on Kickstarter or via our website if you’d like to discuss anything further! We’re always available!
Thank you for your understanding and sorry for the novel of an update!
– Nikola Zistakis and Joel Paglione