SolMate, iPhone’s Hottest Solar, Inductive and Battery Case, Kickstart This!


Not all Kickstarter Projects are winners. And not all Kickstarter creatives have the integrity we want and expect. This is one example of a Kickstarter Project that looked great, had tons of promise but went sour… sour enough that I would NEVER AGAIN back a project offered by the folks who brought this forth.

Project Title: SolMate: iPhone’s Hottest Solar, Inductive and Battery Case

Status: Funded (Then Cancelled. See below.)

Closing Date for Funding: Thursday February 23, 2012

URL of the Project: Find it here.

From the Creatives:

Introducing SolMate®, an aluminum-cut, silicon-dioxide, glass-covered iPhone-casing that is capable of charging and protecting the phone through light sources and inductive power surfaces. Sporting proprietary micro-designed electronics, a Qi inductive charging chip, power-dense 18 percent efficient solar cell, and a super-thin lithium battery, SolMate is running circles around power depletion and replenishment within 1 percent increments of accuracy. Its proprietary power management software and iOS app work together to communicate between SolMate and the iPhone, providing users with a portable power experience that is unmatched.

See our recent prototype pictures: Aluminum frame, electronics, solar, all in place. We are now in final refinement phase.

OK geeks, here goes. Our circuit is not a “rookie engineering” project. We use 0201 size components, QFNs, 1/2 thickness PCB with 2oz copper, and an extremely high-efficiency charging system. The PCB is less than 12mm long. The next prototype will stack two circuit boards together, allowing us to remove even more material from the end of the case. We are also MFi-certified by Apple (official partners), which allows our 16-bit microcontroller circuit to deliver tons of useful data to the app.

We really appreciate your support! Every pre-order that goes into our project will go towards building and shipping SolMates worldwide.

All the best to you all,

Adam & Jamie

Who at Gear Diary Backed It: Dan

At What Level Did We Back: $99

Why We Backed It:

Dan says – It looked like a great way to cut the cord and harness the power of the sun while keeping my iPhone charged.

Judie says – I didn’t back it because I already had a solar charging case, and for $99, this one didn’t get me that excited. I am so glad that I didn’t bite! =P

How’s Communication From the Creatives Been?: It was great until they abruptly made a final update that said, “Sorry, we’re done. Project cancelled. Joke is on you. And no, we aren’t going to offer any additional details.”

After weeks of telling people things were going great they posted the following on the product page.

Update #14: Important Project Update

Dear SolMate Backers,

We are reaching out to you today to let you know that due to reasons we are unable to disclose, we are canceling our project on Kickstarter. We will be issuing a full refund to all backers within the next few days.
We wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support and evangelism. It was an amazing learning experience and we appreciate YOU and Kickstarter very much.

Thank you for everything folks.

Adam & Jamie

My money was refunded.

What Has the Experience Been: BAD, DISAPPOINTING.

Would You Recommend this Kickstarter Project?: I would NEVER do a project with any of the principles in this project.

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.