PayPal has launched a new crowdfunding-type service called Money Pools, which enables users to set a fundraising goal, and share a page describing the nature of the fundraiser with friends. PayPal suggests using money pools for group gifts, planning trips, special events like baby showers, or collecting money for someone in need. Chances are it will be used predominately for the latter, as almost half of the $2 billion raised on GoFundMe has been for medical expense fundraisers. Pages can be shared through email, social media, or messaging apps.
The payment processing is handled securely, as is to be expected from PayPal.
At this point asking people to support your crowd-funded concept device is kind of like asking them to support your "sure-fire multi-level marketing system." Sure, it could be legitimate, but it's better to just treat that money as if it's gone forever. That said, smartwatches might be the one exception. Pebble, arguably the legitimate dark horse in that small market and one of the first to successfully market itself, got started on Kickstarter. So maybe it wouldn't be fair to dismiss the CoWatch, a new smartwatch that features interoperability with Amazon's Alexa voice control system, out of hand.
Building a smartphone is not easy even for established companies like LG and Samsung. So you have to maintain healthy skepticism when a company like Saygus rolls into town and says it's going to beat the big guys at their own game. The dual-SD card Saygus V-Squared was announced back at CES, but the ship date has slipped a few times already. Now the company has hit another major snag and decided to start a shady Indiegogo campaign. Yikes.
There was a time, a few months ago, when I would check Kickstarter and Indiegogo every couple of days for new projects. I was fascinated by the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and creators and I wanted to keep an eye on all the new ideas that were just ripe for production. I haven't lost that interest, but after investing in dozens of crowd-funded projects — most of which resulted in really great products that I use and love, thankfully — I'm a bit less obsessed and more selective in my choices. The problem that I used to face, right until today, was the lack of native applications for both sites.
Sometimes crowd funding campaigns get a little carried away making promises in an effort to attract contributors. As problematic as these projects are, they aren't usually complete nonsense. The Dragonfly Futurefön, on the other hand, looks impossible. For $400 you get a phone that docks to a computer running Windows for a dual-screen mobile computing experience. Sound crazy? Well it already has over half a million dollars on Indiegogo. Yeah, I'm worried for humanity too.
As a frequent swimmer and a gadget lover, I have spent a lot of time researching activity trackers geared towards those of us who spend more than a couple of hours per week in the pool. The problem is that I never found anything priced acceptably, capable of monitoring the factors that are important for swimmers, and that would sync this data with my Android devices. The Garmin Fenix 2 might be the closest thing to what I want, but it costs at least 4 times as much as a Fitbit One. That's why I'm excited to read about this Xmetrics project on Indiegogo.
Started by a team of Italian swimmers, developers, and engineers, Xmetrics is a swimming activity tracker and audio coach.
Have you had your fill of Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns? Well, too bad—Reddit has launched its own crowd funding tool called Redditmade. It's a way for Redditors to fund their idea "with no upfront costs or risk." Technically, there is risk, but it's all on the backers.
Update: Portal has been removed from IndieGoGo after a patent troll issued a DMCA takedown notice. Organizer and creator Arubixs is fighting back. This should be entertaining.
Over the past year or so, we've seen project after project overpromise and under-deliver on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There's a deep and cruel streak of cynicism running through the world of hardware crowdfunding, but you can't say that it's undeserved: look at the travesty that is the Kreyos smartwatch, the disappointment of the iMpulse controller and the Pressy, and almost laughable vaporware like the Smarty Ring, now six months overdue without even a working prototype to show for it.
Google's Photosphere feature is really cool, but all that spinning in circles and pressing buttons – yuck. Panono is a nifty little gadget that promises to capture a super high-resolution 360-degree image when it's thrown in the air. Sounds fanciful, doesn't it? Well, it's going to be a real product now that the Indiegogo campaign has reached its lofty $900,000 funding goal.
Panono has a total resolution of 108MP, making it the highest resolution available on a consumer camera. Of course, those pixels are spread out around the entire panorama. The ball has 36 cameras all over the surface and will automatically take a picture when it reaches the apex of a toss.
If you buy a Fitbit, Jawbone Up, or one of the other fitness sensors out there, you're committing to a single software ecosystem. That can be a problem if you want to use your hardware with third-party apps. Plenty of Android users know the pain of being unable to wirelessly sync a Fitbit with most Android devices. The Angel fitness and health sensor is an attempt to build a completely open device that app developers can plug into and create new experiences for users. After launching and Indiegogo campaign on September 16th, Angel has now passed the $100,000 fixed funding goal with almost 2 weeks to spare.