Continued from Part 1, Part 2 of our interview with John Andrus of Livi Design focuses on answering the question of how the Casetop product will be repaired, replaced and if there are accessories in the works. Addressing reader and prospective kickstarter backers who have questions about the quality of the product, John Andrus will also go into how long the product is expected to last and where he gets his experience from. The design of the Casetop is versatile and the timeline is solid, especially with the research done on connectivity with current generation smartphone devices.
Toonari Post (TP): How are you ensuring that your product is of the highest available quality?
John Andrus (JA): I have been in the tech industry repairing laptops, using laptops, taking them apart for 10+ years. I know them inside and out, and what makes a good laptop. We’ll be working with established factories that perhaps have made laptops before, but not like this. We’re using osmeon. I’ll be on the ground floor inspecting the process completely to make sure it meets the correct standards and that each one comes off the line looking and working good. Dragon Innovations has a ton of experience dealing with factories and negotiations, and we are completely comfortable with their experience.
TP: What will be available in terms of repairs for the Casetop?
JA: Everything. Every single part can be replaced by the end user, as long as are a bit DIY. If they don’t want to fix anything themselves, we will have a $10 install fee, plus shipping there and back to replace any part for the customer. We will be charging OUR cost for replacement parts. Also, if yours is damaged beyond reasonable repair, we’ll buy back the parts that are still good from you and give you store credit for a new one!
TP: Are you eventually going to look into a line of Casetop accessories?
JA: Yes, totally. We’re planning on 40 Frontbar options to be released a couple months after shipping the Casetop orders to backers. We already have preliminary partnerships with Speechware for a dictation Frontbar, and LinuxonAndroid for a whole Linux computer Frontbar.
We are also going to be looking at user upgrades, such as better screens, outdoor screens, more batteries, etc.
TP: What is your timeline as of now and how do you plan on fulfillment of all the orders?
JA: 1-2 months of production design, betas, etc
1 month of production line ramp up
1-2 months of final production, shipping, packaging
We’re shooting for December if we are successful with our Kickstarter. We do not need any circuitboard R&D or display technology. We can hit our goals, and will try to do so as the 1st priority.
TP: Current generation users will want to know about Galaxy S3 and S4 connectivity as well as for the Note 2. I remember mention that they are MHL connected? What sort of connectivity S3 users expect to have?
JA: Yes, you’re right about using MHL, but Samsung decided to make their own MHL for just two phones. The Galaxy S3 and Note 2. The S4 works out of the box but you need a ‘11-pin MHL to 5-pin MHL’ converter that we’ll be selling for the GS3 and Note 2 to work. It’ll be under $20 and you can get it from a lot of sources, not just us. If you search that phrase in quotes there, you’ll have a lot of options.
TP: What can you tell me about safeguarding the Casetop for future use? How sure are you that your current set of connectors will be applicable for the next 10 years?
JA: Basically the answer is that much like HDMI has been around for 15 years already and it isn’t going to stop any time soon. Also, MHL has just begun being used and it is also estimated to last at least 10 years. Changing cable standards is like changing direction on a moving ship, it takes a long time. One of our secrets, though if it does change, is the Frontbar technology. It allows us to add things like Apple’s Airplay wireless video with no difficulty and other ‘active’ technologies to simply another Frontbar model. So the answer is twofold. Number one, standard cables last a really long time in the market; as more people who use it, the harder it is to replace the cable standard. Second, the Frontbar technology allows us to expand the Casetop even further. We have 17 planned Frontbar models right now, how many more will be created! So, even if I wasn’t 100% sure how long the connectors would last (which I am), the Frontbar is our way forward too.