Rants, Technology

Cancelling my WayTools TextBlade Order

There was a draft of this post that had been waiting to be published on this blog for over four and a half months ago. It’s time to post it and provide a four-month update.

“I’m still waiting for my WayTools TextBlade multi-touch keyboard that I ordered back in January, 2015. The company said that they would ship in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and now mid-October. Unexpected hardware changes and revisions to firmware are the reasons for the delay, but WayTools keeps telling its customers that shipments are right around the corner. I’ll believe it when the TextBlades ship. Other customers are getting restless, judging from the increase in the amount of order cancellations and disappointed posts on the WayTools forum. The company has not done itself any favors with its passive aggressive attitude on the forums and its habit of cancelling orders for those customers who complain too much.”

As a way to pass the time, I drew a twelve-month calendar for 2016 called, Waiting for TextBlade.

Waiting for TextBlade

It’s now mid-February, and the TextBlade remains an elusive product for customers. At the end of December, 2015, the company released the companion app for the keyboard on the iOS App Store, which gave hope that they would ship in January. Then, at the end of January, WayTools announced the Test Release Group (TREG), which is a shipment of pre-release TextBlades to a small group of customers (hundreds). The TREG is designed “to accelerate validation and help refine the product quality and experience.” WayTools also noted yet another hardware problem with the shield layer (that protects against leaking electrical noise) that they would be fixing.

I was one of the earliest orders of the TextBlade (January 13, 2015). Like many others, I was led to believe that the product was in “mass production” and would be shipping in February, 2015. While the delays have been unfortunate, I’m more disappointed in the way that WayTools has gone about communicating these delays to its customers. If one did not frequent the forum, one would be clueless as to what’s happening with the product and why it has yet to ship. The ordering system always says that new orders will be fulfilled in 2-3 months after WayTools has fulfilled its backlog of orders. It’s been doing this since the delays started a year ago! 

  

A few forum members have been admitted to the TREG, but I have not.

Originally, I was going to wait until they shipped, because early adopters were going to get a “substantial gift.” I also said to myself that with the 30-day money back guarantee, I can always return the product if I didn’t like it. Then, as the delays mounted, I said I would wait until my year purchase anniversary arrived before cancelling. Of course, then they announced the TREG, and I found myself thinking, “Well, I’ve waited this long. Might as well apply for the TREG so I can get an advanced preview of the product.” Now, even that doesn’t look likely to happen. 

With all that said, I’m cancelling my order today. What changed to push me over the edge?

I’ve grown tired of WayTools dangling the carrot in front of me. Even if the TREG is real and shipments will be going out to testers in the next two weeks, it might still be two to three months before real customers get their product. What’s the point of the TREG if WayTools is not going to use their feedback to further tweak and refine the product?

The appeal of the TextBlade to me has been in its extreme portability. It’s smaller than any portable keyboard out there, and it promised to operate just as well as a normal sized keyboard with its patented multitouch keys. The operative word here is “promise.” I’ve purchased a lot of technology in the past that promised to do wonders for my productivity, only to end up in my computer junk bin after a few months or years. Would the TextBlade share the same fate? By cancelling now, I’ll get my money back. I will let the early adopters use the TextBlade, whenever it ships, and figure out if it’s a worthy purchase. If so, I will consider getting one. 

iPad Pro with iPad Keyboard Dock

My iPad Pro connected to the original iPad Keyboard Dock using a 30-pin to Lightning adapter and a 30-pin to 30-pin extension cable.

In the meantime, I purchased the well-regarded Logitech K811 Easy-Switch Keyboard off of eBay, and it will be arriving next week. It’s smaller than my Logitech K760 Solar Powered Keyboard, is rechargeable via USB, and has backlit keys. I thought about getting the Apple Magic Keyboard, but decided against it because it doesn’t offer the ability to switch between multiple devices with the push of a button. Sure, the K811 is bigger than the TextBlade, and it won’t fit in my pocket. But, the product exists today, and it’s a full-sized keyboard that I’m used to. The iPad Pro’s virtual keyboard is the best one that I’ve used yet, and I don’t mind it for typing on-the-go. If I want to use an external keyboard, I’ll use my K760, K811, or even the original iPad Keyboard Dock. I might even get an old Griffin iMate and dig out an ADB keyboard to connect to my iOS devices.

I’ve done fine with regular keyboards in my computing life thus far. I think I’ll do just fine without the TextBlade.

Standard

49 thoughts on “Cancelling my WayTools TextBlade Order

  1. No, I found it on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GNTB3MQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

    Be aware that there are similar cables that may not pass through the keyboard signals. I bought two cables from eBay that did not work. I needed the 30-pin to 30-pin extension cable because the 30-pin to Lightning adapter is only 0.2 meters long; that’s not enough length to set an iOS device in a comfortable position with the iPad Keyboard Dock.

    The whole setup, while it works, is a little unwieldy (I’d expect the same with a Griffin iMate and an external ADB keyboard). But at least I’m able to use the iPad Keyboard Dock (which I found on eBay for $1) with my iOS devices.

  2. doccho says:

    Wow, thanks for your quck response, Mr. Tow. I have been thinking another way of connection via Bluetooth.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GHUHMUS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_tobWwbXVRPXQT

    Do you think if it’s possible to connect the keyboard dock and the iPad with this BT adapter? It’d be better for me to try myself other than to ask you this question, but just idea… :-)

    BTW, 1. I have read you post regardin the cancellation of TB. I am still waiting for a good news, though.
    2. http://www.albireo.net/threads/45453/
    I am posting some thoughts and share ideas using keyboards with iPad with other Korean users.

    Thanks.

    • @doccho – I haven’t done extensive testing, but there might be excessive power drain with the Keyboard Dock and the iPad Pro. Even when a 10w power adapter was plugged into the Keyboard Dock, I noticed the battery was still draining. Will conduct more tests, but t’s something you should be aware of.

      • doccho says:

        Thank you for more info. It’s valuable to know while considering which keyboard is the utimate setup for the iPad as a productive device.

  3. Bummer TextBlade still hasn’t overcome their production issues and their customer service sounds poor. Sounds like at this point there is little reason to be an early adopter. At least you can be reasonably assured of what you are getting with the Logitech keyboard on order!

  4. EIM says:

    If that is your order summary screen you did not order until February 13. There are therefore many people ahead of you. I ordered 1/13/15. My order summary says “Pre-order”.

    Perhaps this is why you were not selected for TREG.

  5. EIM: Read the post. That’s the screen for new orders (I am showing how misleading the new order screen has been for new customers. It’s always just a. Few months ahead of existing orders and has looked like that since they started having delays). I ordered on January 13, 2015. I had even heard about the TextBlade back in December, 2014, when the company was originally going to announce the product (for January delivery).

  6. Way tools says:

    You probably didn’t get selected for TREG because of the cartoons. I think TREG was a way to circumvent the order queue and to essentially punish any who dares to criticize the company. Not surprising considering how they cancelled people’s orders when they got too vocal.

  7. Certainly within the realm of possibility. There were some within WayTools that found the cartoons enjoyable (see their forum post and Twitter replies). Whatever the reason, I am off the queue and can stop waiting for a product that may still be months away.

  8. Hey Adam. I too was one who enjoyed your calendar and also your posts. I ordered on February 24, 2015. After a year of waiting and now them posting up last night that TREG shipments are delayed I finally had enough! I am also canceled. I think this keyboard would have fit a niche that I was missing when moving from my BlackBerry to the iPhone 3G back in 2008. I was able to adapt to the on-screen keyboard, but for writing a long email or other, I find it very inconvenient. Last year I purchased the new MacBook and since it is so small and light, I have been using that for traveling. I got used to that keyboard as the keys have less movement.

    My personal belief is that the TextBlade hardware is so bad that they are frantically writing software to overcome it’s weakness. However there is only so much software can help. Such a shame as I love the idea of the TextBlade but hate the company that treats paying customers with such disrespect.

    • Andreas – Thanks for the comment. I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of the TextBlade forums now that I’m no longer a customer. I didn’t realize that they had delayed the TREG shipments by another few days. Gotta feel for those who are still sticking it out!

      I have another blog post coming later this week that talks about the alternative keyboards that I’ve recently purchased and have been using with my Mac and iOS devices. All have compromises, but at least they are available today for purchase and use.

      I wonder if the next rev of the MacBook Pro line will adopt the butterfly keyboard of your 12-inch MacBook Retina or the lower-profile keys on the Magic Keyboard. Only a few more months till we find out.

      • Andreas Hoeschle says:

        Hey Adam,

        I decided to jump on the WayTools forum to see what was up, and to no surprise the keyboard still has not shipped. Looks like they are saying July / August now. So much noise on the forum it is hard to look for all the details, but it seems they have added a few more rounds of TREG users and there are still issues.

        Makes me happy I canceled a product that was shipping in March 2015!

        I hope all is well with you and maybe they can pay you to do a 2017 calendar at this point!

        Best,

        Andreas

      • Andreas – I still pop in the forum every now and then to see what up. Read their latest tech update. Yes, they’re continuing to add new features and modify their installation process of the TextBlades. I’m still fine with my decision to get my money back. Those selected for the TREG are lucky in that they have been able to use the product. I feel for those who are still waiting on the sidelines. In the meantime, I’m continuing to use my Logitech K811 and my Microsoft Foldable Keyboard. I also picked up a Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro off of Craigslist.

      • Andreas Hoeschle says:

        Adam,

        So they just announced Q4 as shipping. PCB issues. This thing is doomed to never ship. Such as shame as it is a niche I would have liked.

        Andreas

  9. Ibla says:

    I was also one of the first to order a Textblade. Funny enough exact the same date as you: 13 January. I have patiently waited without ever posting any negative comment on the forum. However I was also not selected for the TREG. I wonder if it really exists. When Apple announced the 9.7″ iPad Pro with keyboardcover I decided that this would fulfill my search to a compact keyboard as well and cancelled the Waytools order. I figured getting used to a slightly smaller keyboard would be a similar learning curve as it would have been for the Textblade. And it was: I type a lot on the Pro in airplanes and it works fine. Nowadays I need getting used to my magic keyboard when I get home!

    I was surprised that Waytools immediately refunded my money. To be honest I expected that to take months of delays as well. So at least they do one thing good.

  10. Here we are in late August 2016, and the design of TextBlade still hasn’t been finalised. You were wise to get your money back when you did. I think WayTools must have burned through most of their customers’ pre-order money by now, and I imagine they won’t be able to give too many more refunds before they fold.

    • Richard – I take it you’re not part of the TREG testing group? Those that are seem to be happy with their units. I pop in the forum from time to time to see if there’s an update on shipping. More people seem to be added to the TREG group, but as you say, WayTools keeps finding more problems to delay the product from full release.

  11. Hi Adam, just wanted to check, did you get your refund when you cancelled? I cancelled on 8 August 2016 and the fund still haven’t reached my account.
    I order my blades on 15 January 2015.

    I got this message

    “Hi Ray,

    All done!

    Your order xxxxxxxxx has been refunded for you. If you’d like to place a different order, please visit our Store.

    We’ve already refunded $545 to your Visa … 7090. Your refund was immediately sent via our card processor (Authorize.net). Your card company controls the funds now, and usually takes about 7 days to show this on your credit card statement.”

    No trace of those funds still, wondering if the scam extends all the way to non-refunds!

  12. I had the temerity to re-write a few famous sci-fi intro texts criticising Waytools for not yet delivering. I published one too many over the past few weeks and got banned for six months form the forum.

    I ordered Jan 15, 2015 – one of the very first orders, presumably. Didn’t bother to sign up for an attempt at TREG until a few months ago because I thought the damn keyboard was coming – in friggin Feb of 2015 – and then every month thereafter after that.

    So a bit of good natured sci-fi ribbing was in order – in the RANTS section no less – but nope, Darth Wayder is too sensitive.

    Sucks to be Waytools. Haven’t bothered cancelling yet as I still actually want the keyboard, but if I do cancel and Waytools doesn’t go broke first, sometime in 2017 may well be the time to do it.

    Great cartoons BTW! Who’d have thought we’d be here, nearly in Feb 2017, with Delaytools and Waitools more apt names than ever.

    • Alex – I had long thought about creating one last cartoon for 2017, but (1) I wasn’t sure if WayTools wouldn’t get it the good-natured ribbing and ban me (I’m still a member with full posting privileges on the forum) and (2) didn’t want to spend any extra cycles thinking about this keyboard. Maybe I’ll whip one up on a lazy day and see what happens.

      I occasionally peak in the WT forum to see what’s new, but most of the time I read the posts on https://reddit.com/r/textblade

      I had posted on Capcify (https://capacify.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/still-waiting-for-the-textblade/) that the project reminds me of the Glowforge laser cutter (which I backed and later cancelled). Lots of hardware and software delays. I hope for those that are still backers of both that these products ultimately deliver and are quality products.

      If and when the TextBlade reaches mass delivery, I’ll reconsider purchasing it. But right now, I’m fine and perfectly comfortable using normal “legacy” keyboards and soft keyboards on my mobile devices.

  13. JI says:

    I also have waited 1 year and half for the TextBlade… and obviously i decided to cancel. The shipments kept delaying over and over again (4 times). If the product and development is not ready, please don’t over promise to customers.
    If this company had sold this piece of tech to a well-known brand manufacturer, it should have launched long time ago :)

  14. Barry says:

    I finally just cancelled my order. I think I’ve waited 2 years. order was placed Jan 2015. The delay is just constantly like watching paint that never dries.
    I’m happy just to get my money back.
    I’ve also found some extremely good alternatives I’m really happy with.

    A butterfly thin foldable about the size of a iphone6 plus.
    And a half mechanical fold that is a bit thicker but small as iphone 6.

    Both works well, can fold and fit into pocket like a wallet. And reasonably priced at under $30 and about $40 dollars.

  15. Barry says:

    http://a.co/5y1toPU

    I ordered 3 and gave 2 to friends. They all loved it. I’m very picky about keyboard chcklet feel and it is crisp enough for me. I really hate that spongy feel.

    http://a.co/4ywKJIP

    This one I have also and like because it folds even smaller though not as thin. Yet it is full size keys. I ordered from aliexpress which was cheaper $37 but price seems to have gone back up.

    one more:
    http://a.co/8yGi00F
    however , keys are slightly tinier. But it has keypad. I have one from aliexpress similar but for only $22.

    As you can tell, I spend way too much time looking for the ultimate pocketable keyboard. So these are my top picks. What I spend time mostly eliminating: keyboard mush, or too tiny. Too big, or thick. Too expensive over $60.

    • Barry – Thanks for the comments. If you had to choose one keyboard, would you go for the first or the second? Do you find yourself mis-hitting some of the keys in the second keyboard (WIZO Ultra-thin Portable Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard). I saw some funky placements for the \| , ~, and tab keys.

      My Microsoft Foldable Keyboard stopped working on battery (works fine when plugged in, but that defeats the purpose of a portable keyboard). The iClever looks similar in construction. Let us know how it works out long-term.

  16. Edison Chang says:

    I also placed order in Waytool since Mar, 2016, next month will be 1 year anniversary for it. I also give my patience the deadline to Waytool. If they change the shipping schedule to Q2,2017, I will immediately cancel the order.

  17. It’s now over a year since your original post. My Waytools receipt still improbably suggests a Q1 delivery timeframe. Shakespeare said there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark, perhaps he would have chosen Waytools HQ were he alive today… Sigh.

    One side of me says to just hang in there, I’ve waited so long, so what’s the bloody difference? The other side of me wants to copy Edison Chang and clang my order into cancellation should Q1 slip to Q2, which probably means a slip to Q3, then Q4, then back here in Feb 2018 lamenting your post’s two year anniversary…

    • Alex and Edison: I honestly thought that WT would have been shipping the TextBlade by now. I will admit to a bit a cancel-regret when cancelling when I did. Now, one year later — they must be closer to the finish line, no?

      Here’s the thing, if you cancel now, the only thing you really miss out on is that early adopter gift (whatever it is). If you really wanted a TextBlade (once they ship), I bet you would be able to find one on eBay or Craigslist quicker than those who have been waiting a year (assuming WT fulfills according to the purchase date, unlike the TREG selection criteria).

      • alexzr says:

        I tried finding out what the surprise gift is, but no-one would tell me. The loyalty to Waytools in this regard is disturbing – probably everyone on Treg is too Stockholmed and in fear of getting their beloved Treg units recalled or terminated. “You have been tregminated”.

        Well, I tregminated (cancelled) my order last night. I just couldn’t take it any more. Two years of BS and lies from Waytools wore me down in the end. I didn’t order the Waytools keyboard because of the ‘surprise gift’ – who the F knew there was a surprise gift in store to begin with?

        In the end, all of the sanctimonious BS from Waytools about doing right by the customer when all they have done is do wrong by the customer made me decide to cancel. In addition to the fact that no-one had the guts to private message me what the gift is.

        So, I cancelled. In Aussie dollars I will get over $200 back in my account, and I’ll be very happy to spend that on anything else.

        Should Waytools decide to ship one day in the future, and it is possible to order and get the product arriving in under a week, whether from Amazon, Waytools or anywhere else, and if real-world non-Treg users give it good reviews, then I’ll certainly consider ordering one then.

        But for now, Waytools has yet another customer who has decided enough is enough. No more checking the Waytools forum. No more wondering where this keyboard is.

        All that now awaits is 2019, when the Text Blade will finally launch. Maybe.

  18. JB says:

    Reorder your TextBlade now! Great TREG reviews continuing to roll in. I’m in for the long haul. To those who cancelled, I’m sorry you forfeited your early adopter gift, as it definitely would have been worth your while. But I guess you were fearful that you might lose $99. As Mashkov (Aleksander Krupa) said to Charlie (Mark Wahlberg) in the movie The Italian Job, “No imagination.”

  19. EricInMaryland says:

    Thanks for the stupid remarks JB. Since I know you have no idea what the early adopter gift is, its a bit presumptuous to assume it will have any real value. Many of us have been waiting for YEARS and that is not really very fair given the promise of delivery in 60 days. I don’t really care how well TREG is going, they will never ship because it will never be perfect. They have already delayed again to the end of summer which from their perspective is 9/30 with no specific year in mind.

  20. JB says:

    Eric, I understand your frustration. You can believe that I don’t know what the early adopter gift is and that WayTools will never ship but you would be dead wrong on both counts. To those who have cancelled, I strongly suggest re-ordering, as many have already done based on the postings in the forums. It would be stupid of you to think that their goal is not to ship as soon as realistically possible. There are issues far beyond making you happy as to why they haven’t shipped to this point, suffice it to say that they fully intend to do so and every day they don’t obviously costs them millions of dollars in delayed revenue. Hang in there, Eric, you’re part of something special. I have not been waiting for years as have you since I have a TB in-hand, but it is clear in hindsight that you and many others in 2015 unknowingly pre-ordered the TextBlade when you thought you had purchased it for immediate delivery, so you certainly have a right to feel frustrated. Trust me, WT didn’t plan this to happen and the refund option is always available but that puts you at the back of the line, which given your high level of emotion for the product, is not where you want to be after waiting this long.

    • EricInMaryland says:

      Of course WayTools planned it this way and lied to its customers. Waytools cannot claim they are ready to build and ship in 30 days, and then expect us to believe they were 2.5 years wrong. Does that sound even remotely reasonable?

      A few months late would have been reasonable. Two and one half years….well thats a development cycle and a blatant lie.

      This was a money grab to fund development. Nothing more. They needed seed money to get started. Once started they got more from a real VC. Hence their ability to give refunds.

      You may well know what the secret gift is being that you are part of the TREG, and most likely an employee of the company. But your comment that we are all misguided is insulting and not appreciated here. Head back to the blog and fight for those of us strung along for so long. Wait, you can do that can you…because they will likely ban you or cancel your order.

      Please focus your feedback on Waytools and the shipping of the product ( now delayed yet again).

  21. JB says:

    Wow, you are so far off base, Eric. I definitely don’t work for the company and I don’t believe for a second that your $99 was used as seed money, it has to be available for refunds. If the policy was no refunds, your theory might hold water. And if the company was later funded by VC’s as you theorize, that would be easy to verify, as VC’s typically announce their investments at time of funding. The company had been in business for years prior to taking orders based on my understanding. I won’t further this exchange. Hope you get your keyboard soon. I doubt you’ll be joining us in TREG being so negative and jaded.

    • EricInMaryland says:

      They need money to get money. Simple as that. Their approach and treatment of customers has been terrible. Offering a refund does not absolve them of responsibility to their customers. Its an easy out. A cheat.

      I’ll bet I have been on the wait list for TREG way longer than you have. Had they invited me in I am sure I would have a slightly different perspective but only to a degree. Promising shipments in 30 days was a lie. It was not hidden from their view. I cannot see past that from a business perspective.

      What irks me is the pie in the sky folks who come here to extoll the virtues of WayTools. Since I cannot be this blunt on the Waytools Blog without being suspended or refunded I stay off that Blog. I dont think, however, that it is fair for you to here to convince us we are wrong about the situation.

      30 days turned into 2.5 years and counting.

  22. Uuu says:

    “To those who have cancelled, I strongly suggest re-ordering, as many have already done based on the postings in the forums.”

    JB keep your suggestions for you or your friends.

  23. JB says:

    UUU, You have your $99 TextBlade refund, so with another $901 you can put a deposit on a Tesla Model 3 and wait. You’ll be disappointed once you learn what you gave up in the form of an early adopter gift. but if $99 changes your life, you made the right decision to cancel. Good luck to you.

  24. JB = waste of shill space says:

    JB, you are a despicable slime. For anyone reading this, the “gift” is as non-existent as the damned Waytools Textblade.

    Once Waytools launches the Textblade, then order it.

    Only an idiot orders a Textblade because of an unknown free gift.

    For now, that free gift is a free lesson in patience, and it’s the sh!!t!est gift on the planet.

  25. JB says:

    I’m not sure if anyone ordering now earns the early adopter gift, as it’s not early anymore. I haven’t heard the term shill since I saw a three card monte game. Funny.

    • JB = shameless shill says:

      You disgrace yourself further JB, and you’re the arrogant fool telling us to order for the gift.

      Anyone with a brain knows not to trust a disgusting shameless shill like you.

      Kindly eff off and go spam reddit with your trash

  26. JB says:

    You are incorrect, sir.. I specifically said not to cancel your TextBlade order if you ordered early (in 2015) so you would NOT lose the early adopter gift. I also mentioned separately that a number of people who unfortunately did cancel their early orders and lost the early adopter gift have subsequently re-ordered, all posted in the forums. Maybe that’s beyond your first level thinking. Reread my posts and consider phoning a friend, as it seems you need some help with reading comprehension. I have no experience with reddit, Do the reddit posters possess a higher aptitude than you or are they also negative nellie’s?

    • JB = gonad slime says:

      I said it before and I’ll say it again – you are a disgusting slime. Shame on you. Go puss on the Waytools forums where your sycophanpiss is lapped up like the nectar of the gods Knight gonads.

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