February was a month of unexpected circumstances. We apologize that we were unable to get an update out to you earlier as promised.
Shortly after the Chinese New Year holiday, we were told by our landlord that they wanted our office space back by the 20th. Once we secured a new space nearby, we had to move everything within a few days’ time. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we were able to move into a much bigger space before a large outbreak began in Shenzhen, where our office is located. The latest outbreak has led to a strong response in terms of daily testing and lockdowns throughout the city. This is good news for the health and safety of our team in Shenzhen but bad news in terms of being able to be in person in the factory during manufacturing. In Shenzhen, we were fortunate to have had very few cases over the past year and any outbreaks that did occur were quickly isolated and controlled. This outbreak, however, is different. Nevertheless, we are resilient and are continuing to make progress on finalizing production.
The Unexpected Return of the Virus: Within a short period of time after cases suddenly began to rise, we noticed that more apartment complexes were undergoing mandatory lockdown. We started to stock up early on essentials including food and water. One day, the two nearby food markets we frequent were fully stocked in the morning and empty in the afternoon. The next day both of the communities where each market is located were placed under a lockdown. This meant that one could enter the community but not leave. We tried ordering food via a delivery service that normally arrives within 30 minutes but instead were notified that the deliveries would arrive within 48 hours. Almost everything was unavailable.
Recently, the food delivery service has returned to semi-normal delivery times but the stores still have some shortages. Many areas are still under lockdown but we are hopeful the situation will resolve within the next few weeks. We have not let this situation lead to wasted time in terms of gearing up for production. We have been thoroughly reviewing the design for imperfections and preparing to mainline everything necessary so you can build a custom Linux kernel and OS if you so choose without having to resort to a custom branch. We have also been in constant communication with our manufacturing partners regarding their visitation policy during this outbreak and about how assembly will take place if our team cannot physically be in the factory.
We have discussed with our manufacturer about doing final assembly in batches of fifty (50). We will make the final decision within the next two weeks. We will send an update when the decision is finalized. If the decision is made to do batch assembly because we are unable to visit the factory then everyone will receive a batch number in a separate email. We are hoping it will not resort to that and we are carefully monitoring the situation daily.
We have a lot of exciting new developments that we can’t wait to share with you. However, getting Pocket P.C. in your hands is our top priority therefore those new developments unfortunately will have to wait until another time. Make sure to keep an eye on our Twitter feed for a thread on how we assemble a Pocket P.C. You may have missed it if you are not following our Discord.
For anyone who has purchased Original Popcorn, you will receive an email soon regarding a tracking number for the pre-production units and an estimate on shipping of the production units. We are awaiting an estimate on the lead-time for some of the critical components so that we can start production of those.
Thank you for your continued patience.