Karma's VP of Product, Sjoerd Smit, just spent the last week in Shenzhen, China, checking up on our manufacturers there. We're close to starting mass production on Karma Go, and Sjoerd went to lend his critical eye to make sure every little detail is right. The last hurdle will be final certification of device, which means it is fully compliant with the LTE network and safe to be switched on.

Shenzhen is perhaps most famous for being the location of Foxconn's largest factory, where many of Apple's products are built. But Shenzhen is also full of thousands of smaller manufacturers that can make almost anything — everything from the Karma Go's electronics, to its plastic form, to the felt pouch it comes with, is made there.

Throughout his trip, Sjoerd shared candid shots of his experience with the rest of the Karma team, so we thought we'd pass them on to you!

Sjoerd discusses samples with the Chinese manufacturing teamSjoerd discusses samples with the Chinese manufacturing team

Checking out the LED operation of a naked Karma Go (left)Checking out the LED operation of a naked Karma Go (left)

Driving toward the factoryDriving toward the factory

Injection molding machines on the factory floorInjection molding machines on the factory floor

Clean room garb for the in-mould labelling processClean room garb for the in-mould labelling process

Sjoerd's handy Pantone swatch for the canonical Karma orangeSjoerd's handy Pantone swatch for the canonical Karma orange

A whiteboard discussion of LED assemblyA whiteboard discussion of LED assembly

A cleverly titled Shenzhen bar, which Sjoerd sadly didn't enterA cleverly titled Shenzhen bar, which Sjoerd sadly didn't enter

Sjoerd's kit for a meeting to discuss packaging samplesSjoerd's kit for a meeting to discuss packaging samples

The aftermath of a packaging meetingThe aftermath of a packaging meeting

The end resultThe end result

Being this close to manufacturing, we weren't looking to make any huge changes, but Sjoerd is happy about a couple of small tweaks made during the visit. The plastic of the device is now slightly less glossy, the pouch's felt is different and bears a smaller logo. Tweaks were also made to the LED portion of the device to make mass production at a high quality easier. If it sounds like we're obsessed with details, that's because we are. It's one thing to design a beautiful and functional device, but it's a whole other thing to actually build that device.

Sjoerd in Google HangoutSjoerd in Google Hangout

Today, during Karma's weekly all-hands meeting, Sjoerd held up the final Karma Go shell up to his webcam (he's in the Netherlands for the holidays, recovering from jet lag). Now we're one step closer to shipping, and it feels good.

Of course, we haven't forgotten the end goal: getting Karma Go into your hands. It's on our minds 24/7. We hear you. We will have a firmer ship date soon, and we'll update you as soon as we know it.


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