It was almost three years ago that the company behind the Mellow smartphone-enabled sous vide cooker began taking pre-orders for the kitchen gadget, which promised to do amazing things like keep food in ice water all day, starting to cook it when you activate the device from a smartphone app. Almost three years later, though, customers don’t have their cookers.
Crowdfunding campaigns for products usually occur on the platforms Kickstarter or Indiegogo. While the platforms officially take no responsibility for what happens if people who backed a project never received their items, they do make projects from very young startups seem more legitimate.
As the people who still wish they had their Zano mini drones or Skully motorcycle helmets or the remaining people waiting for their Coolest coolers can tell you, backing a project listed on a major crowdfunding platform doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll ever get your gadget.
Instead of using a separate platform, Mellow decided to take pre-orders directly on its own site, while still marketing itself as a crowdfunded project. That would mean saving on fees that could be spent on making the device more impressive, right?
Perhaps it did, and perhaps the cooker is super impressive. At the time, writers seemed excited about the idea. TechCrunch summed up how the device works by saying, “you drop food in, press a button on your phone, and come home to a really nice steak.”
That was still theoretical when that was written in 2014. Except for a few beta testers, the people who backed the project still don’t know, CNET reports. (warning: auto-play video at that link) The product has been in development all of this time, with theoretical ship dates proposed in updates to pre-order customers, then pushed back again.
After multiple theoretical ship dates came and went, the company finally announced at the end of last year that Flextronics would be helping bring the product to mass production. That name probably isn’t familiar, but Flextronics is a contract manufacturer, producing devices for a number of brand-name electronics companies, including Fitbit.
Flextronics purchased the Wink brand of smart home products when Quirky went out of business. That could mean that the Mellow might become part of an integrated smart-home ecosystem.
Meanwhile, sous vide innovator Anova will be selling a cooker that does much of what the Mellow originally promised, including Bluetooth and keeping food chilled for you, for $99. Early backers paid $400 for the Mellow, and the list price is $600.
You can still go pay $400 for a Mellow pre-order right now, if you want to, but it would be a good idea to wait until after those pre-orders placed up to three years ago arrive on buyers’ doorsteps.