Hello Vantage Community –
This is an exciting week for many reasons. As I’m sure few have missed, Tuesday is election day in the U.S. and it’s a big one. While we have been largely heads down during this important time, focusing on getting Snap into your hands, all of this discussion of values during the election has been a good reminder for us to consider our own values and make sure you understand exactly what we stand for. This is also an significant week because we plan to ship our first beta units by Friday. We’re excited to share more on both topics in our latest update today.
The team at Vantage continues to work with passion and intensity to get you your Snap and make sure it is right. We have been building beta units with our manufacturer and plan to ship our first ones at the end of this week. We will continue to ship beta units for the rest of November and plan to ship to our pre-order customers in December.
We have solved the issues we mentioned in our last update including the GPS jamming, tooling challenges, and a long list of software bugs. We have been flying and enjoying our internal test units for the last several months. We do continue to find bugs and have additional details we would like to refine, but we are really really close and incredibly excited. Our primary technical focus at this point is video streaming performance, video quality in the widest possible range of conditions, and making sure we nail ease of use (we hate products that make us feel dumb).
All of that being said, we have some updates we need to share. First, our Android app development is behind schedule and we do not expect to have our Android app ready until January 2017. We know this will be a disappointment for our customers with only Android phones and we sincerely apologize for the delay.
Second, we have decided take a slightly different approach regarding DSM support: we are going to offer a free DSM module to pre-order customers who want it and ordered before Nov 10, 2016. This will be an additional accessory that non-pre-order customers, and customers who order after Nov 10, 2016, will have to purchase.
Edit: When the DSM Module is released, we will reach out to all pre-order customers who placed orders prior to Nov 10, 2016. There is nothing to do prior to the release date.
Here’s our thinking: our most recent survey revealed that the vast majority of our customers don’t know what DSM is and/or don’t plan to use a DSM controller. With our in-depth testing using a smartphone and game controller, we frankly don’t think a DSM controller will be useful to our customers in most situations. Furthermore, one key benefit of a DSM controller is increased range, however we found that the internal antenna for the integrated module had significantly less range than the external antenna on an add on module. This also helps us keep Snap affordable for future customers who don’t plan to use it with a DSM controller. Snap is already provisioned for this, and completing and shipping this add-on module will be a top priority after we have shipped Snap.
While we are in the midst of working through every last little detail, we want to take a moment to step back and talk about the big picture, what keeps us working passionately, and why we believe Snap matters. The drone industry is still in its infancy and Snap is a completely different approach. While Snap is packed with an insane amount of cutting-edge technology, we don’t want you to love Snap for it’s amazing sensor fusion, advanced composites, or meticulous micro-gimbal. We want you to love Snap for what it lets you do, and we think Snap lets you do something amazing. It lets you capture moments that matter in an entirely new way, free from your limits of motion.
We’d like to share a bit about our perspective on what really matters in this highly-technical realm:
Your stories are personal. Forget about flying cameras for a moment. Think about the stories you most want to remember. The stories you most want to share. Your first kiss. Your first love. Asking the big question. Those first steps. Your shared adventures. Now consider how many of those stories have people in them. This is why we made a flying camera designed for use around people. People are what make our stories matter, and Snap is the only flying camera truly made for capturing those stories.
The best camera is the one you have with you. And we want you to be able to take Snap anywhere. This meant leading the industry by scaling down on size, but not on performance. But it’s more than that. Using a quad with unprotected shrouds near people is like smoking at a kids birthday party. We don’t want to be the one making others uncomfortable, which previously often meant leaving existing drones on the ground. Snap’s safe design allow it to be your camera of choice anywhere — one that’s welcome in a crowd. This means you can take Snap to the places that matter.
Feeling smart feels good. So why does so much technology make us feel dumb? We hate this, too, so we designed Snap to make you feel capable. Snap’s design and interface has been considered, tested, and reconsidered with the goal of making great aerial video fun and easy. This means you can stay in the moment and focus on what matters.
Your dollars count. We know quality flying cameras, including Snap, are expensive. We’ve worked hard to keep Snap as affordable as possible, but our primary focus is creating a product that gives you your money’s worth through the length and richness of the relationship you can have with it. Nothing ends a relationship faster than a non-functional product, so we’ve designed Snap to survive those inevitable crashes and make repairs trivial when big accidents happen. We’ve also designed Snap to grow with you over time and stretch the value of your purchase. Snap’s alternative rotor sets and add-on modules will enable you to move faster, higher, further, and longer than any product in the world, so you can continue to expand your horizons.
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I had to give my Snap to our mobile developer this weekend and it’s absence felt notably significant. I have been infected with the pleasure of this new freedom of movement and perspective. When my son was throwing bread for ducks in a local duck pond, I struggled to find an angle with my iPhone that captured his expression without getting wet. And then when we saw a large parrot up in the trees near us (which is still a bit of a mystery, as I had never seen anything like it in San Francisco, including the famous parrots of Telegraph Hill), I again struggled to to find the angle to do it justice. The list went on from there. While I felt frustrated, it also make me feel even more excited to be able to share this pursuit with the world.
We close with a video I shot during a hike in Point Reyes with my family and one of my closest friend’s family. This reflects many of the values and goals we shared. And I don’t think there is another flying camera in the world that I could have used.
We will be in touch with updates on the Beta program and your specific delivery timing. Thank you as always for your patience, support, and ongoing belief in our adventure. We can’t wait to get Snap in your hands and see what you do with it.
Tobin and the rest of the Vantage team
PS – Don’t forget to vote!