Good news, iPhoneographers: Motrr’s awesome remote-controlled Galileo iPhone mount ships soon!


posted Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM EST

It must be the day for photography-related Kickstarter projects to announce their imminent availability. No sooner had we covered the news that the crowdfunded, wearable Memoto camera is about to reach the market having rebranded as the Narrative Clip than we heard an update from an even more popular Kickstarter project. (At least, if the number of people who backed the idea is any indication.)

We first covered the motorized Motrr Galileo cameraphone mount when its crowdfunding process had just kicked off, some 18 months ago. Over the following month, Motrr not only achieved its funding goal, it blew it out of the water, scoring more than seven times the US$100,000 needed to get the Galileo off the ground.

Funding was only one hurdle, though, and plenty of others remained to be cleared. The trials and tribulations of surpassing these were detailed in regular monthly -- or sometimes, even more frequent -- updates. For a period, these were visible only to backers, but much of the story has remained public, and it shows just how much work it can be to get these products from funded to shipping. Motrr has had to resolve numerous issues with design and production, not all of which were within its control.

Motrr's Galileo device with Apple iPhone mounted. Photo provided by Motrr LLC. Click for a bigger picture!

Motrr's Galileo device with Apple iPhone mounted.
Photo provided by Motrr LLC.

After working on problems with software development and circuit board designs, the company faced another spanner in the works as Apple ditched its long-in-the-tooth 30-pin connector in favor of the new Lightning connector. The compatibility problem was eventually resolved by creating a separate version of the Galileo with iPhone 5 support provided via Bluetooth, rather than via a physical connection. (This move to wireless could soon prove to be very smart indeed, as the iPhone connector could change again in some markets, if the European Union gets its way.) 

And all of these changes happened just in the first few months after Galileo was announced. Subsequent changes over the following months included tweaks to resolve various design, vendor and quality control issues, including uneven finishing and noise from the drive mechanism. Galileo also received a new soft-touch exterior finish. 

Kickstarter backers who decided to stay with the original wired hardware design instead of switching to the newer Bluetooth design started receiving their units at the end of May this year. Production levels ramped up gradually, and most have now received their 30-pin units. A couple of weeks ago, Motrr announced expected delivery of the Bluetooth variant for Kickstarter backers from early October.

The Galileo can be remote-controlled from an iPhone, iPad, or web browser. Photo provided by Motrr LLC. Click for a bigger picture!

The Galileo can be remote-controlled from an iPhone, iPad, or web browser.
Photo provided by Motrr LLC.

With shipments for all of the early adopters likely to be complete in not too much longer, Motrr has announced that it is now taking preorders from the public for the Galileo in either 30-pin wired or Bluetooth wireless form. And there's a silver lining to the clouds brought on by the delivery delays faced by the early adopters: The Galileo SDK has been publicly available and refined for quite some time now. That should translate to more app support once Galileo goes mainstream. (Motrr themselves have highlighted five key apps, including live calling, photo sphere, monitoring, time lapse, and remote camera control.)

Retail pricing for the Galileo, regardless of its connectivity, is set at US$150 or thereabouts, about 15% above the originally-planned retail price (and close to double the Kickstarter price). During the preorder period, a 10% discount is available using the coupon code "galileoten". Delivery for preorder customers is expected in late October, with widespread retail availability from November.

Sadly, the variant which was once promised for the GoPro action camera has yet to see the light of day, temporarily shelved due to issues with connectivity, and doubtless due to the need to devote resources to the iPhone variant. For iPhoneographers, though, the arrival of their much-anticipated, remote controlled camera dock looks to be imminent, and that's great news!