Wooting 60HE production validation tests (PVT) was planned on the 21st of March and Mass Production on the 8th of April. However, due to a COVID lockdown in Dongguan/Shenzhen last week, none of the suppliers and our manufacturer were able to work.
This has caused a delay in the chain. We delayed this update to collect more information, but we're still not completely sure what the new dates are.
At the time of writing, we did get confirmation that PVT will now continue on the 31st of March.
The Mass Production date is now pending. When I have the new date, I will send out an order notification email and update the 60HE timeline page.
IC Shortage - Almost sold out
We were struck with an unexpected IC shortage that has significantly impacted our production forecast. That there is an integrated circuit (IC) or "chips" shortage is not a surprise, it's also why we started to stock up on key IC parts. In fact, we were hearing news of it recovery nearing the end of this year.
However, when I started preparation for an early followup production, one particular IC that we hadn't stocked up on was suddenly a rare find with lead times into 2023 and spot prices of.... 100+ USD / unit. A few months prior, we bought a batch of these IC straight from the manufacturer without a problem.
As a result, we can't manufacture more keyboards until we find an alternative IC and it pushes back a followup 60HE production by 2-4 month. There is a lot more to tell here, but it warrants its own update that will come as soon as possible.
What does this mean (for you)?
If you already have a 60HE pre-order, nothing changes for you. If you were having doubts on placing a pre-order, then now is the decision making time.
This first production is a bit over 90% sold out. Then there'll be a significantly smaller production that delivers a month later. After that, it's all dependent on our development on when we can run another (larger) production and have the 60HE well stocked.
Again, there is a lot more to tell here, but it warrants its own update that will come as soon as possible.
5 sided dye-sublimated PBT keycaps
We received a new keyset sample from a different supplier. There are in comparison to the first set good and bad things, still to be evaluated.
You can see there's a significant color difference, the color we're aiming for is in between them.
This project is still moving forward but at a snail pace. It has a low priority while we are dealing with more urgent matters. The approach for this is to get samples and quotes from 3 different suppliers. Now 2/3 were able to complete a sample and the 3rd basically deemed it not possible.
Once I have cost estimates, I'm able to make a decision on the supplier, complete the set (we want to cover a bit more than 60%), and improve the design.
That's it for now and expect to hear from me soon again!