The Narrative Clip 2: A cautionary tale of why you should never pre-order tech gear

Image via, since I obviously don't have the camera in hand...

Image via, since I obviously don't have the camera in hand...

I have a problem - I like to pre-order tech devices and back crowdfunding projects, and then I wait for a long time for this stuff to ship. My most recent frustration is with the Narrative Clip 2. The Narrative Clip 2 is the second generation of a tiny lifelogging camera that clips onto your clothing and then takes photos or videos without a need to remember to press a shutter button. I liked the first Narrative Clip -- although my wife told me to "take that damned thing off" when she realized it was taking photos of her all the time -- and when the improved second version was announced last year I decided it was time to revisit the Clip. My order was made on May 27, 2015, and as of today, it still hasn't shipped.

Now I have to admit that the team in Sweden that's working on the Narrative Clip 2 is doing some pretty amazing engineering. In a tiny little clip-on device they're packing an 8MP camera with the ability to shoot 1080p/30fps video, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, built-in GPS, and more. But here it is, February of 2016, and I still don't have the Clip 2 in hand. 

The team has been good about sending out emails with various excuses as to why the Clip 2 hasn't shipped and pumping up excitement about the product. But I hadn't seen anything since the Deccember 31, 2015 email telling me that the "first Clip 2s are out the door", so I thought I'd check the status again today. Here's what I saw:

So, let's see. I ordered in May, so my device was either shipped in December or January and is just being sent via rowboat from Sweden, right? Wrong. I entered in my order info and it still showed that the order was being processed. Hmmm. With a click on the Customer Care link on the site I did a quick search on the oft-asked question "When will my Narrative Clip 2 ship?" The answer listed was "Orders made in May under our first pre-order will start shipping in January, starting with orders made from Europe." Apparently December didn't make it, so the update (on January 19) pushed that to January. 

Now, it IS February. So I decided to look around a bit on the site and hidden on a completely separate web page ( were some ominous updates from 1/20/16, 1/28/16, and 1/29/16. The first update said that those who were in the"US and Rest of World" (not EU) would get the Narrative Clip 2 in 4 to 8 weeks, meaning that the device would ship in late February or March. OK, I've waited since May of 2015, I guess I can wait a bit longer.

The 1/28/16 update made the possibility of a March shipment look like a fading dream. It said that "To ship the Clip 2 pre-orders in US and Canada there are specific FCC certifications still needed. We are working hard with the certification lab in Taiwan to accelerate the certifications. Unfortunately this is a necessary step for US customs to allow Clip 2 shipments into the US. This is a very time-consuming and frustrating process and many of you have told us you feel the same." WHAT? They were allegedly ready to ship and hadn't even received FCC certification?!

I guess I have no choice but to wait, and wait, and then wait some more. Sure, I understand that cutting-edge technology takes some time to perfect, but please use somebody else's money -- like some venture capitalist fund -- instead of mine. I can understand delays and waiting for crowdfunded projects where there's really no assurance that something will ever ship, which is why I have lower expectations for those items and I keep my wallet shut more often. That shouldn't be the case for a pre-order of an item that sounded like it was ready to roll last May.

The only thing I can hope is that to make up for the ridiculous delays on this product, Narrative offers those of us who pre-ordered the device a couple of years of free photo and video storage at their not-yet-introduced premium plan (supposedly $2 per month otherwise). I am also hoping that soon I'll be able to offer a positive review to readers of Apple World Today, along with the news that the Narrative Clip 2 is generally available, but I'm not holding my breath.

The moral of the story? Unless you really lower your expectations, never pre-order technology products.