[anelok] hackaday mooltipass competitor just went crowfunding

Werner Almesberger werner at almesberger.net
Wed Nov 5 13:38:00 UTC 2014

Felix wrote:
> Yesterday they launched an indiegogo campaign to mass product their
> mooltipass device. 

Whee, they've come a long way in remarkably little time !

> - They store credentials in flash memory, so, if you lose the device, you
> lose everything.

They mention backups in the video and the FAQ says you can backup
card and device, so that doesn't seem to be an issue.

> - smartcards are big and also the contacts are prone to wear or been damaged

I wouldn't worry so much about contact wear, but yes, there is a
size penalty. They could avoid this by going to SIM cards, but I
don't know how flexible the supply situation is there.

It's also not so nice that you can't just leave the card inside.
Well, it's more secure if card and device are kept separate,
but ...

> - the whole thing is BIG, even more when you have to plug the smartcard xD

Hmm yes, about three times the surface, four times the volume.
The corners also look kinda pointy and pocket-unfriendly, but
maybe they'll make them a little rounder.

Also their Arduino compatibility comes with a size penalty.
But their examples show that it's at least something they'll
be able to use for further evolving the product.

> - 100$ not a bargain, precisely...

The price sounds quite reasonable. It's the same range I'd aim
for with Anelok, and while Anelok has more stuff inside (i.e.,
RF), they have a larger display and such.

In general, I think it's a common mistake to price too low. First,
you'll never beat high volume Chinese products, so even suggesting
you're not much more expensive creates the wrong expectations, and
second, it's rather common that production costs end up being
higher than planned, and then you may end up in an OpenPandora
situation, or worse.

> So, from my point of view, Werner's approach is loooot better than this ;)

Thanks !

Now, what I really envy them for is the large number of people
working on it, and that they have found a way to make quite a
lot of prototypes.

I also have to commend them for what looks like a very cleanly set
up crowdfunding campaign: they don't only have one prototype for
the video, but already made a whole set of them. So they do indeed
seem in good shape for going to production. Also, the various perks
seem to be designed such that they don't create much overhead for
their core project. Well, maybe except for the aluminium case.
Major product variations can be a lot more pain than one may think.

- Werner

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