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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

 

Pleo Battery Pack Now Removable, Incurs Slight Shipping Delay


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During play testing Ugobe discovered that Pleo would not charge properly and this lead to a reduction in play time from the originally specified one hour. Instead of forcing Pleo out the door with a limitation that would frustrate Pleo owners, Ugobe has bit the bullet and is doing the hard thing. They are delaying Pleo's release but only slightly, and most importantly Pleo will still be ready for shipment by the holiday season.

This however has led to a major feature upgrade for Pleo that answers a specific request made by play testers and Pleo fans alike. Pleo will now use an external battery charger and support a removable battery pack. This means that if you purchase an extra battery pack or two, you can have many more hours of play than the originally specified one hour; simply by swapping out the exhausted battery pack with a freshly charged one.

Here is the E-mail from inventor and Ugobe co-founder Caleb Chung, that explains the decision:
Dear Pleo™ Fans,

During pre-production testing, the UGOBE™ team encountered some significant problems with Pleo's battery life. We solved these problems in a way that I think you will appreciate: all Pleos, including First Hatch Pleos, are now designed to have an easily removable battery and an external charger for the battery. That means that with multiple batteries and chargers, you can keep Pleo going for hours on end. However, implementing this design change will delay production. We are working hard to make sure everyone who has ordered a Pleo will receive one by the holidays.

I know how much you are looking forward to having Pleo in your life so I know this delay is frustrating. At the same time, I hope that you are as excited as I am about this design change. I'll post some video or photos soon, so you can see it yourself. Your enthusiasm for Pleo continues to be an inspiration as we work through these challenges to deliver the life form we've all been waiting for.

We'll update you in a few weeks - as soon as we know more about when we can ship. If you have any questions, take a look at the FAQs below. And make sure to stop by PleoWorld.com to see our new webisodes and participate in forum discussions.

Sincerely,
Caleb Chung

FAQS

Q: How does the external battery and charger work with Pleo?

A: The battery goes in the same place in Pleo as before (his belly), except that now it is designed to be removed easily and frequently. Once removed, the battery is charged in the external charger, then placed back in Pleo once fully charged.

Q: Why did you change to the external charger design?

A: As we neared production, we encountered some difficulties with Pleos charging consistently. Combined with the input you have given us about wanting multiple batteries that were easy to remove and charge, we decided that solving our charging problems and answering the call for an external charger was paramount.

Q: Why are you delaying shipment?

A: In pre-production testing we encountered problems getting Pleo to charge correctly. Implementing design changes to resolve the charging issue has led to the delay. We're working hard to make sure everyone who has ordered a Pleo will receive one by Christmas time.

Q: What do you mean when you say that Pleo will arrive "by the holidays"?

A: Integrating the necessary changes into the Pleo design has pushed back production, and we are unable to ship Pleo in October as planned. However, you will receive your Pleo by Christmas time. We felt it was best to let you know of the delay as soon as possible.

Q. Can I still order a Pleo and receive it before Christmas?

A: After the success with pre-orders, UGOBE.com has completely sold out of Pleos, however our retail partners still have Pleo allocations available.

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