Hey everyone, Ryan here. I wanted to take some time to walk through where Arsenal is in deployment and how things are going. I’ll break this into three sections: Software, Logistics, and Shipping timeframes.
In case you missed it last time, we’re working through some bugs reported by our early backers.
What we’ve worked through so far:
- Apple first-time connectivity has improved greatly. There are still some corner cases we’re working through here, but most users are reporting this process is working well for them.
- We tracked down one memory management bug that was causing the device code to crash at random times. This is fixed and will go out in the next release.
- The next release will have our new thermal management code in place. This will keep Arsenal from reaching higher temperatures, which can introduce errors. Arsenal will still become warm when in use, as with most electronics.
- We’ve successfully worked through a bunch of various bugs around app crashes, camera-specific bugs and other various items. We noted them in our release notes last week, which I appended below.
What were working through next:
- We did release a temporary workaround for Android connectivity issues, but unfortunately the temporary workaround was only partially successful. Some Android users are unable to connect to Arsenal and perform the necessary firmware update. We changed around the connection stack a bit and have a full fix that’s almost ready to go out. This is our #1 focus right now, and the final fix is expected next week, if not sooner.
- A handful of feature-related bugs (focus stacking, photo preview with highly utilized SD cards, etc.) are still being worked on and are nearing completion.
- Fixes to the less frequent app crashing or connectivity challenges
- In certain situations, camera-specific bugs have popped up and are being addressed in order of camera popularity. Some of these bugs prevent using Arsenal with those camera models until we resolve them. We’ve pushed updates for several cameras already, but have a few more in the works that should go out in the next few releases.
The Software details:
Android. During app development, the Arsenal team bought a bunch of Android phones and tested on them quite a bit before we shipped any units. So we were surprised to hear that a lot of the early backers had issues keeping a connection to Arsenal on Android. This week, we figured out that on some Android phones, wifi connections to a device without internet will be dropped when Android detects there is no internet. On most of the phones, this only happens when using an active SIM card -- which most of our test phones didn’t have unfortunately. Our field testers happened to have phones without the issue. Lesson learned! We spent about a week developing a work-around to address the connection issue, but it didn’t end up working for all of the affected models. So our next step to resolve the issue was to switch to using Android’s Wifi Direct for connections. Wifi Direct allows you be connected to more than one wifi network at once. I’m happy to say we have Wifi Direct working on Arsenal and the Android app, and it has been solving the connectivity issue on the known affected phones. We’re are wrapping up a few more details and testing, but this fix should go out the end of next week and solve the Android connection issues.
Smart Mode Captures. Some users reported capturing photos that were over or under exposed. The main reasons for this is due to Arsenal not properly “zeroing” settings while taking photos in Smart Mode. We’ve identified these settings and should have a fix out in the next build. In the meantime, make sure your exposure compensation is set to zero, metering is set to matrix, and exposure bracketing on your camera is turned off.
Cameras. As early backers use Arsenal with more camera models and setting configurations, we’ve discovered issues on a handful of cameras that require writing custom code. We caught many of these before launch for the 100+ cameras Arsenal supports, but a few slipped through. For example, on some cameras we need to put the mirror down before we can trigger a shot. On some we need to disable the depth of field preview before we can trigger a shot, etc. We’re doing additional rounds of QA on each camera given this new info, as well as growing our QA team to make sure we catch these issues earlier in the future.
Overall, we’ve realized the software wasn’t where we wanted it to be yet. The hardware feedback has been positive and all of these challenges are issues we can resolve with software/firmware updates. That said, the unboxing experience should be one of joy and not frustration, and too often we’ve found our backers experiencing the latter.
We have another app update going out this weekend that addresses a lot of the main issues people are seeing. We will publish app updates at least weekly until all critical items are patched.
Our logistics processes are running pretty smoothly so far. Transit timeframes have been as expected, packages are arriving in good shape, and customs has gone well (except in Russia, where we had a few packages rejected that are currently being re-shipped). Response times from our tireless Support team has been a bit more delayed than we’d like due to the understandable influx of address changes and shipping timeframe questions. While we think this is a short-term spike, we’re significantly expanding the Support team with some new hires next week to add more capacity for roll-out.
While we’ve been encouraged by the positive reports from users that weren’t affected by the connectivity or camera-specific bugs, ultimately we decided the overall bug list was too impactful for the community as a whole to ship units before fixes were tested and out the door. We are happy to report that we have that game plan formalized, but we need some time to execute on the changes and, as a result that has impacted the shipping schedule.
Here’s the update on what’s shipped so far and where we’re going:
We shipped 211 units the week of 6/18, meeting our goal to ship 200 that week.
The week of 6/25 we shipped out 338 units against a goal of 800. We have another 555 units packaged and ready for shipment, but we held off on shipping them last Saturday given the software issues. We couldn’t get them resolved in the following few days, so those 555 prepped units are still on hold. We expect to ship them the week of 7/16.
Since we still need to ramp shipping to manage the support load, the units scheduled to ship the Week of 7/2 and beyond will be delayed by three weeks. The revised schedule is as follows:
Week of 6/18 - Goal 200 units; 211 units shipped
Week of 6/25 - Goal 800 units; 338 units shipped, 555 on hold
Week of 7/16 - 555 on hold units
Week of 7/23 - 4,000 units
Week of 7/30 - 7,000 units
Week of 8/6 - 7,500 units - Kickstarter complete; Indiegogo complete
Week of 8/13 - 7,500 units - WithArsenal.com orders start
Week of 8/20 - 7,500 units
Week of 8/27 - all remaining pre-orders from prior to 4/1/18
Sorry again for the delays in getting Arsenal launched. We know everyone is excited to get their Arsenal. We thought the software quality was there, but we obviously had some missteps and are working to correct those. We couldn’t ship out more Arsenals until we fix these issues.
Thanks to all of our early backers for their feedback and patience as we work through these launch challenges, and thanks to those still waiting for their patience and support as well. Once we get through these initial bumps in the road we’re confident you’ll love your Arsenal.
Release Notes Appendix for version 0.8.39
Lots of bugs fixes going out in the past few days. Thanks to the Arsenal team for putting in all of these long days. Thanks to all of our customers for the help debugging and the patience while we work through a few things. Our small team managed to do over 400 commits since our last release. Here is some of what's changed.
- Whole scene focus improvements
- Improved handling of the depth of field constraint when shooting on a tripod
- Performance improvements when doing multipoint focus on Canon's (more speed improvements to come)
- Fixed issue when camera was turned off during connection to Arsenal
- Fixed issue with iOS app connection to Arsenal in the background
- Fixed focus issue on the Canon 5d Mark ii
- Added messaging to about enabling FlexizoneAF on a few cameras. (Where needed, improved messaging coming soon)
- After stacking completes, focus stacked photos show in the last photo area on the main screens (we'll probably add a progress indicator on stacking progress in the last photo area as well)
- Fixed issue with burst photo triggering failing in some cases
- Added message when exposure bracketing is out of range. (NOTE: we're going to be switching to using the camera’s Manual mode for exposure bracketing shortly, which won't have this limitation. Should be out soon)
- Fixed issue on some cameras where changes to the aperture or iso would not save and the manual sliders would jump back to their original positions.
- Added a keepalive so the phone and Arsenal have a better idea of when they have lost the connection to the other side. This improves the experience quite a bit when you're at the far end of the range.
- Improved multipoint autofocus when focusing on low contrast targets
- Fixed an issue with focus point placement before the first live view image has been received.
- Fixed exposure compensation showing in photo review area.
- Added message to check for camera sleeping to the "No camera detected" screen.
- Added basic explanations to tabs on focus page.