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Light raises $30m and announces L16 camera is delayed until 2017

TechCrunch TechCrunch 6/07/2016 Haje Jan Kamps

If you were eagerly awaiting your “late summer” delivery of your pre-ordered Light L16 camera, today will bring an impatient tear to your eye. In parallel with announcing having raised $30m from GV (nee Google Ventures), the company sent out an email to early supporters telling them they’d have to wait for a while longer.

I’ve known the delay was on the cards for a while, but the company has consistently denied that anything was awry. When I queried the company about it back in March, a spokesperson said “We are on track and the second group of shipments are for the fall.”

Specification changes

Since the pre-order launch, quite a few things have changed; Originally, the company announced it was planning to provide 35-150mm optical zoom equivalent. The company claims that its pre-order customers wanted a wider focal length, and are changing the zoom range to 28-150mm optical zoom equivalents instead.

In addition, the company announced that it is bumping the memory spec from 128GB to 256GB of built-in memory.

It is unclear exactly what it is that’s causing the camera to be delayed until “Early 2017”, but it’s never good news when a company is changing the specs of an already announced company; it sounds good, of course, but more often than not it means that the changes in spec solve a problem in engineering along the way. Pure speculation, perhaps, but a source within the company tells me the company has had problems getting the camera’s firmware to behave sensibly, and that the camera was struggling to operate as intended.

“Since our launch, we have become intimately familiar with the mantra hardware is hard,” the company told its pre-order customers. “We have made a monumental amount of progress thanks to a remarkable team”

“We encountered an unforeseeable delay in production of the critical, highly customized ASIC chip”, a spokesperson for the company told me today. The chip “does the bulk of the heavy lifting for the L16, and is the cause of the anticipated shipment delay.”

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