Coin has some bad news and good news for its thousands of backers.
The bad news is that backers won't be able to get their hands on the final version of the credit card replacement device until the spring of next year. Bummer for those who were hoping to receive Coin this summer as earlier announced. The good news, however, is that Coin is expanding its beta program by 50% from the original 10,000 beta testers to 15,000.
In a letter sent to its backers on Saturday, Coin admits that it was "overly optimistic" and going for summer 2014 as the launch date of its final product, saying that it needs to conduct further testing nationwide and that the cost of testing is not for their backers to bear. This comes just one day after Coin announced that Coin backers who opt to enter its beta program will have to pay an additional $30 to receive the final product when it ships this fall. This is on top of the initial $50 each person paid to back the Coin venture.
"Coin Beta was a hard decision but important step as we want to deliver the device we all expect and nothing less," writes [password: letter] Kanishk Parashar, Coin founder and CEO, in an apology letter. "Getting Coin to work with thousands of different card readers of different makes, models and regions is not easy and that's why we need the help of an extended beta team."
So far, Coin's makers have succeeded in slimming down the device to a 0.84-mm form factor similar to that of a real credit card and including an e-ink screen and Bluetooth low-energy for security. The device also features tactile touch to provide users feedback whenever they tap on the Coin button.
"Coin swipes successfully in 85 percent of the locations we visit," says Parashar. "Our hardware team is focused on the remaining 15 percent."
Coin is a new device introduced in November that is intended to look, feel and act like a credit card. Anyone using Coin can simply leave their credit cards, debit cards and gift cards at home since Coin can take over and replace all those cards by containing all the information on multiple cards in one device. Coin features a digital stripe that mimics the magnetic strip found in most cards that allows users to swipe the device for any transaction that accepts credit cards.
To use Coin, users have to install a device management app set to become available for iOS and Android sometime next month, where they will enter all their card information into the app. After that, they can leave those several cards at home and carry only Coin in their wallets.