Kenyan technology firm Ushahidi has pushed back the release date of BRCK, an internet device designed by Kenyan technology company Ushahidi to keep people connected to the internet during network downtime, until the first quarter of 2014.
HumanIPO reported in June on the device, which works like a mobile phone and can switch between Wi-FI and 3G when the network for fixed broadband is down.
The BRCK team said the delay in production is due to challenges in obtaining certain key parts to manufacture the planned 2,000 units, which will be priced at US$199 a piece.
“Unfortunately we live in a world where small, African tech companies don’t have the influence to get global component suppliers to meet our delivery deadlines,” the team said in a blog post.
“In particular, we have been unable to secure a timely supply of the 3G modems that are specified for the BRCK.”
The team said it will have to wait for a suitable alternative in sufficient supply to meet their production demands, since switching to another modem was not an option as it would affect key aspects that ensure the device is working.
However, the team said it would still have enough supply of the original modems to enable them to continue with the testing of BRCK.
“We are planning a substantial expedition at the end of October that will give us an opportunity to put BRCKs to the test in some of the most demanding environments,” it said.
Also dubbed the “Backup Generator of the Internet”, BRCK features wired or wireless Ethernet connections, a battery life of eight hours, and the ability to connect up to 20 devices.