I’m Sean Ramsay, founder & CEO, and I wanted to address the concerns of the community. Bubl has made tremendous advancement thanks to all of you. We’ve also been able to have a lot of you help beta test and QA Bublcams and software so they will be the best products we can deliver to you. We are preparing to begin shipping Bublcams beginning October 2014.
Because we need to get feedback from our backers and pre-sale purchasers in order to quickly control quality assurance, tackle support and make improvements as we launch as well, some of our backers are in extremely remote locations, our delivery schedule will begin from the 3rd week of October and will continue over the next 12 – 16 weeks.
There are a number of things that required us to delay delivery that the Bubl team and I wanted to share with you. Here are the primary reasons.
Hardware QA and Improvements
The Bublcam is a unique and complex hardware device. As we received the initial dev kits from our manufacturer, we had to begin doing extensive QA in order to ensure that the product would deliver the same appropriate experience and high quality content as the initial prototypes. This meant a lot of long hours and late nights and there were some issues that we discovered around power consumption, streaming media and in photo and video capture.
Sensor placement in the dev kits was not identical in every instance causing image shift. This was also the case with the placement of lenses into the lens mounts, which lead to issues with focusing that caused blur across individual cameras captures. This forced the team to discover and deliver new ways to calibrate the cameras.
Software Development and Becoming Platform Agnostic
There would be no point in delivering the Bublcam, even though the hardware is generally complete, without the software that will allow its users to experience every moment. Many people believe that creating a hardware platform is far more difficult then creating software, but in many ways the levels of effort and required support are very similar. Our software development requirements are extremely extensive and combined with our hardware tasks; we have had an incredible amount of work to do as you can see from one of our visualized task lists.
Bubl Apps & Software for Platforms
The world of digital devices that can play back bubls is growing, but the biggest issue is they are not all the same. With different generations of any line of device also comes the use of new hardware components and software dependencies, changing our development requirements for each individual device. In order to deliver Bubl content to users as well as allow Bublcam owners the ability share that content, we have focused for all current versions of devices and base development on Mac OSX, Windows 7, Chrome, iOS 7 and Android Kit Kat 4.2. This development continues in preparation for launch.
There is also our online delivery to consider. Bubl is in beta testing of Bubl.io, the hub for all of your media that allows you to create an account, upload and share via links and embeds spherical photos and videos directly from your mobile, tablet or computer. The current requirements from browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox and IE obviously are extremely different. Bubl software development team has been focused on creating players and software features, but they will not all be fully available across all browsers immediately. All browsers allow for CSS player creation (which for Bubl is photo only at the moment), but not all allow full WebGL playback. We have implemented Flash backup video playback as well. In order to provide users the best possible experiences like photo viewing and video playback, contrast, brightness, saturation controls as well as noise reduction and image enhancers. We will have to, in some cases, develop different players for different browsers.
Bubl will be providing limited access to Bubl.io with camera launch. As it progresses towards full launch we will see final design, much more content, features unlocked and Sign Up opened to everyone.
Image Calibration (the Ghosting)
Our firmware and software teams also had to address the software based image calibrations. It takes a lot to create a truly seamless image and we continue to strive for perfection. We have had some incredible results in calibrating our multiplex images, but not without some difficulty. Although we can create higher quality stitches in photos, we continue to evolve live video calibration as depth of field presents interesting challenges. We’re also working to deliver Auto-Calibration so that if you drop your Bublcam (yep it can be dropped and survive) and the lenses misalign, all you will have to do is hit one button in the mobile, tablet computer applications and the software will re-calibrate your images for a great finished product.
Streaming media from the Bublcam to devices is not a simple endeavor either. It becomes increasingly more difficult when there are different streaming protocols for different platforms. Bubl supports RTSP live video streaming, but what about HLS for Apple devices? Well, solving this and other issues has taken quite some time, but we have been successful in many regards and we will continue to improve the quality of the stream. Bubl is also in the midst of developing our own live streaming infrastructure to allow users to stream content and control the camera when it is directly connected through a wi-fi network. It will also allow for concurrent users to view your streamed media. With the launch of Bubl Live Streaming Services it will allow users the ability to share live media to up to 100,000 users concurrently. It’s not complete, but it will be very soon.
Prepare for Launch
We continue to move forward, but we are also going to begin to get you involved. We hope that with the delivery of the Bublcam that our community will be inspired to create content in ways we never could have realized. We have produced this product because, just like a lot of you, we too are enthusiasts and fans or what this type of technology will bring. This is the first time in our history where the growth of photographic, video based, spherical, 360º, gaming and VR immersive technology will allow for entirely new forms of media creation and it is all within our grasps. Bubl aims to put this power into the palm of your hand and we hope the world will never be the same again.
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