Yet another Kickstarter project is aiming to disrupt the home router market.
In February, it was Droidifi that was hoping to shake up the home router market by porting Android to routers based on Broadcom’s latest draft 11ac platform. This time PowerCloud Systems has decided to take a shot with its Skydog router.
PowerCloud is a PARC spinoff that’s been around for a few years, trying to get traction with its cloud-based Wi-Fi network management platform. The company has partnered with companies like D-Link and ZyXEL to offer PowerCloud-enabled access points and also produced a few access points of its own. These enterprise-focused products all require paid licenses to reap the benefits of PowerCloud’s CloudCommand technology.
But with Skydog, the company is trying a few new twists. First, they are using Kickstarter to both raise funds for "mass production" and more importantly, to try to get some buzz going for the product. The product itself is a generic-looking N600 wireless router with gigabit Ethernet ports that appears to be targeted at a $100 price point.
Unlike Droidifi and other "smart" router initiatives from NETGEAR and Linksys, Skydog isn’t focused on producing a basic platform that can have more features added via apps. Instead, PowerCloud is using a consumerized version of its technology to provide the features it thinks consumers want most, i.e. usage and parental controls, monitoring, remote administration and bandwidth shaping.
The parental controls aren’t aimed at keeping bad stuff away from young eyes via category-based filtering. Instead, Skydog’s controls are more about controlling usage by setting per-user and per-application time/bandwidth limits. And unlike other "smart" and even not-so-smart routers, Skydog doesn’t provide remote file or media access to networked shares or have a USB port to support its own shared storage.
Skydog is about 40% of the way toward its $75,000 goal after only one day, so it’s pretty sure that it will be funded. Long-term viability of the product, however, isn’t ensured. At $99 for the hardware, no optional services to sell (at least none that they are taking about right now) and no subscription fees, you have to wonder how PowerCloud is going to make money on the product.
At any rate, we’ve signed up as a Super Early Bird for a beta unit, so we’ll let you know how Skydog performs when the units ship next month. Hit the Kickstarter page for more info or to make a pledge.