PINE A64 Creators Receive Death Threats over Kickstarter Campaign

The creators of the PINE A64, a Raspberry Pi-esque single board computer, which demolished its $31,416 Kickstarter funding goal, raising a whopping $1.7 million, have received abuse and death threats – with one person even showing up at the company’s office, threatening to kill staff if he didn’t receive his $22 board – over minor delivery delays.

In an e-mail to Kickstarter backers, PINE64 co-founder Johnson Jeng revealed that the company has, understandably, been overwhelmed the sheer number of orders and that the demand has put a strain on production and shipping:

“Imagine if someone tasked you to run to the supermarket to buy them 10 cases of drinks because they have 100 people coming over for a party,” Jeng explains, “so you took your minivan and went to the store to buy 10 cases of drinks.  When you are there, they called you and said nevermind, they misread the number. It was actually 10,000 people attending, and now then need 1000 cases of drinks.  You’re there by yourself with a minivan, how can you physically bring 1000 cases back by that night?”

Jeng adds that, while many backers have been understanding regarding the delay in delivering pledges on time, an unpleasant few have taken to harassing the company with abuse and threats. “Some of the worst included people showing up at our office threatening to kill us if they didn’t get their board, (this resulted in an arrest),” Jeng writes. “He had pledged $22.”

Another irate backer sent abusive messages, both via e-mail and the PINE64 forum. While his board was due to ship that week, his behaviour earned him a cancellation and full refund of his order:

All this, over delays of just two months.

“And no, we did not receive $1.7M from Kickstarter, as things are not as easy as it seems,” Jeng stresses. “I want to show this to everyone so everyone understands running a Kickstarter project and pre-selling $1.7M is not as grand it as it looks.”

“We netted a total $1,559,658.83, which I agree, is a great number, and we still had to pay our advertisers, marketing firms, PR firms, and more, but easily over $250,000 in third party fees were immediately gone,” Jeng says.

The owners of PINE64 have even mortgaged their houses in order to meet the financial demand of the project.

Play nice, kids.

New $15 Raspberry Pi Rival Can Output 4K Video

The tiny computer market is hotting up, initially ignited by the Raspberry Pi Foundation – which recently released its smallest  and cheapest computer yet, the Raspberry Pi Zero – and spawning rivals like the Orange Pi, Chip, and Kangaroo. The latest entrant, developed by PINE64 Inc., aims to set itself apart, with its 64-bit processor and 4K video output capability.

The PINE A64, which has already surpassed its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter, boasts a quad-core ARM A53 1.2GHz 64-bit processor and a dual-core MALI-400 500MHz MP2 GPU, capable of 1.1Gpixel/s throughput and 4K HDMI output. It relies on a microSD card of up to 256GB for its boot drive, while additional storage can be added via its two USB 2.0 ports. The A64 supports 10/100Mbps Ethernet. PINE are also offering a ‘Plus’ version of its A64, with up to 2GB DDR3 RAM and Gigabit Ethernet.

The PINE A64 is an open source platform, allowing a user to install pretty much any software of operating system they like, but PINE recommends using either Ubuntu, Android 5.1 Lollipop, of OpenHAB IoT. Using Android, the PINE A64 can become a 4K home media centre, and the board supports Miracast.

The basic PINE A64 package is available for pre-order via Kickstarter for $15, while the A64+ can be bought for $19 or $29, depending on whether you want the 1GB or 2GB version.