Hardware's Soft Spot

(Left) Uh-oh, a popup window appears while we are testing some software. We have no idea what it says! (Center) Oh no! It killed the phone! Med-i-i-i-i-c!!! (Right) Whew! Back to work!

(Left) Uh-oh, a popup window appears while we are testing some software. We have no idea what it says! (Center) Oh no! It killed the phone! Med-i-i-i-i-c!!! (Right) Whew! Back to work!

Don’t worry!  Andy, our Android phone, made a full recovery.

Our goal with Linkitz is to put some cool hardware in a fun housing and let kids get creative with it. But as great as it is, even our hardware is less fun without software.  A radio transceiver with no programming is really just another chip on a circuit board. All hardware companies are also software companies, and Linkitz presents some unique software design challenges.

Other hardware companies have it easy: they can just aim for perfection. They want to give their users an experience that cannot be improved upon, or at least get as close to that as they can. With Linkitz, we don’t have that luxury. Kids are the opposite of one size fits all, and the best toys are powered by imagination and exploration. So our challenge is to craft software, and a whole user experience, that is great, but which also leaves room for kids to explore it, improve it, and make it their own. 

Oh, and we're also trying to do it by writing (at least some of) our code in a language and format that is simple and clear enough for a six-year-old to understand and modify. 

It’s the right path for us and our users, but it isn’t an easy one.  Just ask Andy. 

(Note: No Androids were harmed in the making of this blog post)