First unveiled as a concept called the SteamBoy in 2014, the Smach Z is supposed to be a handheld device with a 6 inch, full HD display, physical gaming controls on the sides of the screen, and an AMD processor with AMD Radeon R7 graphics.
Now one of the team’s key partners have announced it’s pulling out of the project.
An update on the Rhomb.io blog explains that the company was responsible for “designing and developing this product from the beginning, including the prototypes”shown off at trade shows… but the company is terminating its relationship with the Smach Z project “due to differences between both companies” including:
- Rhomb.io parent company TNFG never agreed to the timeline released by the Smach Z project, which promised that devices would ship in April, 2017. In fact, the modular Core AMD RX-421 board that would have been at the heart of the handheld PC isn’t expected to ship until “the end of 2017.”
- Rhomb.io asserts that after dealing with the Smach Z team, it’s become clear that those responsible for creating the concept and crowdfunding campaign have “not been able to understand or value the complexity of development and manufacturing that this kind of product implies.”
In other words, if the Smach Z ever does ship, it won’t include a Rhombus core, as promised. Finding a new partner at this point will be a challenge, and it will almost certainly cause further delays and possible make it cost prohibitive to actually produce and ship the handheld gaming PC unless additional funding is secured.
FYI, Rhomb.io was formerly known as clickARM, which is how it’s described on the Smach Z Kickstarter page.
Update: An anonymous tipster wrote in to let us know that the Smach Z team is telling backers of the crowdfunding campaign that it’s working with new developers and hopes to have a final design finished by December so that backers can start receiving their Smach Z systems in January. But honestly, those dates seem to be guesses rather than promises.
The plan it still to deliver a modular device that allows you the processor, memory, and storage.. but it won’t be based on the Rhomb design.
And as for the folks who have been requesting refunds due to problems and delays? Smach Z says tough luck: “that is not feasible at this point, as those funds are invested in completing the project.”
thanks Michael P!