While Oaxis’ InkCase was the original phone case which added a secondary E Ink screen to your iPhone, Popslate gained popularity and developed popSLATE. After the initial success, the company announced the sequel popSLATE 2. It would double as a battery charger and also have an improved screen.
Through Indiegogo, Popslate raised over $1.1 million to manufacture popSLATE 2. The announced date of delivery was July 2016. Now, after a lengthy delay in shipping out, the company suddenly announced its bankruptcy in an update to its backers. The email update also informed backers of the lack of refunds and order delivery too. This naturally resulted in a furious backlash. Backers were further infuriated with the lack of explanation as the email update was apparently the last update they would receive regarding Popslate.
What caused Popslate’s downfall?
The reason for this failure, according to CEO Yashar Behzadi and CMO Grey Moon, was largely financial in nature. Preparations for popSLATE 2’s manufacturing consumed used up much of the company’s funding. Technical problems with its design impeded progress. The firm also pushed shipping back from July 2016 to October due to insufficient initial prototypes.
Apple’s iPhone 7 announcement prompted a foray into redesigning the device to fit both the iPhone 6 and 7. This exacerbated the situation. Popslate soon realised its attempts were redundant as such a device failed to comply with Apple’s Made for iPhone program.
Things didn’t improve in 2017 when Popslate found out that its prototypes failed Apple’s certification testing as popSLATE 2 reduced the iPhone’s ability to transmit RF transmissions. Moreover, they also encountered issues with charging as well, causing an even longer delay. The company pushed delivery back to March and suspended refunds as they tried to resolve the problems.
Despite managing to raise $1m, it was still insufficient to cover the additional costs the string of problems caused. This ultimately brought about the downfall of Popslate, earning the dubious honour of being one of the more epic crowdsourcing failures.
While it may be true that crowdsourced projects are essentially based on faith, the curt farewell message offered by Popslate leaves much to be desired and that is loudly reflected in the outpouring of bitter messages by backers.