Silk Labs Drops Sense Device, Will Issue Kickstarter Refunds

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If you're sensing something is wrong about your Sense pre-order, you're rather perceptive.

According to a new blog post from Silk Labs, the developers of the Kickstarter-funded combination camera and hub will no longer be manufacturing the device. That's not because the Sense didn't have enough funding or interest. Rather, Silk Labs says it will concentrate on the platform that the Sense was intended to promote instead of hardware.

"We intended for Sense to be the first device that could run our Silk software platform and let people experience a more intelligent and personal device for the home. We wanted early adopters to experience Silk and help us build out new features and experiences. We were hoping that our success with Sense would encourage hardware manufacturers and brands to incorporate our platform in their mass market devices. Our timing was perfect: early adopters signed up via Kickstarter and hardware companies expressed interest, but everything happened much faster than we ever hoped for. Therefore, we've decided to skip the early adopter phase and focus on the large-scale commercial opportunities that we have ahead of us," Silk Labs says in its post.

If you backed the Sense, Silk Labs will begin processing refunds on June 15. However, if you're a budding developer who backed one of the higher Kickstarter tiers for the Sense, Silk Labs is also offering you another option.

"We also made Silk public to our developers on Kickstarter and we've received some great feedback and suggestions. Today, we want to offer our Kickstarter developer community something else altogether. Developers will have the option to receive a Silk development device (a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro smartphone, MSRP ~$200, with the Silk software pre-installed) for $100.00 off of their Sense refund amount. In other words, if you ordered the $249.00 SDK edition of Sense, we'll refund you $149.00 and send you the Silk development device," reads Silk Labs's Kickstarter post.

Silk Labs notes that this Silk development device can't be used as a normal Android phone, so it's best you not order one of the limited devices (only 100 are available) unless you really plan to use it for its intended purpose. And if you want one, you'll have to put in a request by midnight on June 14.

The company has also open-sourced Silk, in the hopes that it helps contribute "a more intelligent and connected future." It's porting a version of Silk for smartphone users to play with, as these devices are similar enough to what the company was developing with the Sense (in terms of sensors and computing power) that they should be good enough for those looking to tinker with Silk.

"We believe that intelligent, Silk-enabled experiences will bring the IoT into a new age. Silk is a powerful software platform built from the same technologies that power the web and bring the power and extensibility of JavaScript, Node.js and the npmjs.org ecosystem. Today, we are making our platform public to all. If you are a developer, we invite you to access the platform at our GitHub repository. Our Kickstarter backers have already begun to fork, pull, tinker, and test Silk -- we look forward to seeing what amazing projects you can build," reads a separate blog post from Silk Labs.

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