Yes, yes, and yes. I’m in the process of testing this remote now for review, and I feel a bit better that others are having the same bittersweet experience that I am. Beautiful, though not necessarily ideally ergonomic, hardware with disappointingly problematic software perfectly describes my take so far.
“Neeo is The Thinking Remote that Controls all the devices in your home”.
A product that doesn’t even perform the intended function - even if it’s a Kickstarter company, is not a product. It’s a dream.
I met with their founder, Raph, a few years ago and he told me that he was only a few months away from shipping. Do delays happen? Of course. But when you finally start to ship a product and it fails this miserably…it’s not a good sign. They’re better off trying to sell the design to Logitech Harmony and move on. Just my opinion
Kudos to the entrepreneurs who take risks like Neeo. Especially in an environment that has1,000,000+ devices that have no standards for control. To put in perspective…. compare where Neeo is at now to SAVANT’s attempt in this market space.
I have read this with interest - I am the Kickstarter backer in your byline/image who said the software is a work in progress. A couple of things. You say:
“Generally, I have little sympathy for early backers who invest in a start-up that may or may not even ship product. At least Neeo is real and the hardware is superb. The software can always improve over time if the company has the financial and technical wherewithal to pull it off.”
“When you enjoy preorder pricing, you should not expect to receive a well-oiled machine—a machine that can be fixed, yes, but not one that’s ready for retail shelves. Neeo certainly seems to be fixing at a frenzied pace.”
In some ways you are correct - at the time NEEO was my second Kickstarter project and it was certainly a learning experience for me as a new Kickstarter (I have since backed 22 projects). However, rather than temper expectations throughout the very long waiting period, the NEEO team would actively promote how seamless and easy we would all find using the remote, once we had it. I spoke personally to Raphael via email and phone on a number of occasions and his insistence on just how amazed we would all be for the product was constant. The expectations were not set by the backers - we have been waiting for 2.5 years for an admittedly superb piece of hardware engineering. The high expectations came from the team at NEEO who used so many superlatives to describe the development on a monthly basis with their updates, that it was almost impossible to not expect a well polished final product. Especially after the time it had taken to arrive. I’m sure Raphael won’t mind me saying this.
One thing I said throughout my time as a backer and commenter on Kickstarter was that there was a danger that the excitement/enthusiasm levels for the product may fall with the time it was taking to be produced. I actually think that this has been a good thing for NEEO. My circumstances, for example, have changed radically since I backed the project - I have relocated around the world and have a different set up and family users for the remote than I envisaged when I backed NEEO. All of these life distractions have meant that I have had less time, in the last year certainly, to comment and take part in the discussions relating to the delays. What it has meant though is that my expectations on receiving my NEEO were lower and therefore I haven’t been as disappointed by the fact it isn’t the all-singing all-dancing remote that was promised. At least in its current form. Honestly, if it had shipped in late 2015 or 2016 as planned, there would have been greater uproar from backers. I think time has dulled a lot of the enthusiasm, and conversely, criticism.
For me, I am not that bothered if NEEO works or not right now - it would be handy to replace the 5 remotes we currently used with a seamless experience, but if I have to wait a little longer for this to happen, that’s fine. There are other things happening in my life now which I am more focused on. My initial grand plans for a IOT connected home have been put on the back burner and my interest in this technology has since moved on to other things. I’m not sure that this is a good thing for NEEO or not. I plan to help them troubleshoot and be active in the community on Planet NEEO but ultimately it doesn’t fit into my plans as it once did. Whether or not I speak for others I don’t know. I will certainly use NEEO in the future I’m sure but there’s no urgency from me as their once was. I’m not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing for NEEO but time will tell. I certainly wish them all the best.