Helm V2 Product Development Updates

Hey everyone,

I wanted to share some updates on shipping and Helm v2. We are beginning a small pilot production run (PPR) next week of what we expect to be the final hardware design. We have already begun procuring components for the larger volume manufacturing run given our confidence in this hardware design. These PPR units will undergo thorough some final reliability testing and validation before we set up our volume manufacturing process.

As you may be aware, we utilize hardware-based security techniques to protect data that resides on the Helm server and this has a significant impact on the design of the manufacturing process. We are working through implementing and finalizing the details with our manufacturing partner for this new hardware version.

Here’s a preview of some v2 hardware specs:

  • Hexacore ARM SoC with A73 and A53 cores

  • 4GB RAM (double the V1)

  • 256 GB NVMe SSD (double the V1)

  • More compact form factor

  • Will be available in 512GB and 1TB capacities as well

I understand everyone wants to know exactly when we’ll begin shipping. We don’t have a specific date yet but we are working hard to deliver a reliable product as quickly as we can. I understand we haven’t met expectations that we set previously and I apologize for that. It’s not for lack of caring or trying. We are a small, dedicated team working through difficult circumstances and we have too often erred on the side of working heads down and not shared enough of our challenges and experiences to help you see the progress. That changes now.

2020 has been a very challenging year for us as I’m sure it has been for many of you. Covid19 has dramatically affected our timelines to design, implement and build new hardware and software. Some parts of our process have taken 2-3x what they would normally take due to logistics delays from Covid shutdowns and shipping delays globally. Regardless, we remain committed to shipping this product as soon as we can. Now that we are finalizing the hardware design, there will be more frequent updates about the manufacturing process that we will share here on the forums.

Dirk and I and our team appreciate your patience as we work to bring this product to you.

Thanks,

Giri

Helm co-founder/CEO

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Will mail process faster. V1 takes 10x longer to process new mail than my aws solution.

Also curious if the promised upgrades to v1 will still happen or will I have to buy a v2?

Please contact Support about this issue as that is highly unusual and unexpected.

Yes - we are going to roll out firmware updates for v1 customers as soon as it is ready to add support for expanded storage and more.

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Thanks for the update. I have been awaiting news for v2 as I’m sure others have. I have no doubt it will be great. V1 has been one of the most reliable pieces of tech that I own, both the service and the hardware. Looking forward to see what you have come up with for V2! Hope to see you in big box stores online as well. Thanks!

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Thanks for kind words - much appreciated!

Great news! I’d like to say that my Helm just keeps on delivering mail and it’s great. Looking forward to being able to promote a buyable product again.

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Thanks, appreciate the update and your reflections on what you intend to change around future communications. Much appreciated.

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Will there be an upgrade discount / trade-in option for V1 users?

This seems to be the MO of so many companies. Release what appears to be a great product idea, with lots of promises, then promptly work on a whole new product, rather than deliver the promises.

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Will there be an upgrade discount / trade-in option for V1 users?

We are considering this but haven’t made any decisions yet.

We intend for the V1 and V2 to have the same services available for some time - but since the V2 will have more storage/RAM, customers will be able to do more with those services.

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Hey everyone -

A quick update - we have passed our FCC/CE pre-scan emissions testing for the V2 hardware and have a remaining non-compliant spike to work out on the new power supply that will ship with it. We don’t expect any problems resolving this.

The latest revision of the V2 hardware includes a couple of new components that require some firmware that’s being developed. We will kick off the PPR build as soon as this firmware development is completed which is expected in a matter of days.

Thanks,
Giri
Helm co-founder/CEO

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Very happy to start seeing updates like this. I truly believed Helm was basically folding. The lack of communication has had me testing out mailcow and iredmail on a Pi4, fully expecting to have to migrate before my subscription expires. I really hope the v2 comes out soon and is a major success, I’d really rather not have to run my own mail server (hence the v1 purchase in the first place).

Hopefully storage upgrade support for the v1 comes soon. Would be a nice Xmas gift. Think I said that last Xmas (My Xmas Wish List).

While we’re at it, any chance we can get a post talking about updates to v1? My request list in no particular order:

  1. Helm reboot button in app.
  2. Users manage their own accounts (password resets, aliases, etc.).
  3. Attached storage.
  4. 2FA
  5. Webmail
  6. Access to install NextCloud apps.
  7. VPN

EDIT:
Oh! And a couple of holes in the base of the v2 for wall mounting!!!

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Hey everyone,

Another quick update. Firmware development for the new components I mentioned in the last post has been completed and our boards are in queue for assembly. Our spot is tentatively scheduled for Friday and next week will be spent on initial bring up. We’re working on what we are hoping is the final revision of the parts for the case for the v2 in which these boards will be enclosed. We are still awaiting dates for when those parts will be available.

We’re continuing to procure components for the initial production run and pushing suppliers for ship dates so we will know when all parts will be in hand.

Thanks,
Giri
Helm co-founder/CEO

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Hey everyone -

Another quick update. The assembly of our boards has completed and bring up is ongoing this week. The enclosure parts I mentioned in my last post have been shipped by our supplier. We’re working on getting complete assemblies finished and shipped out to us from our manufacturer so we can do some testing and validation prior to kicking off our production run.

Thanks,
Giri
Helm co-founder/CEO

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I’m glad to see progress is being made. I was also thinking that Helm was heading toward shutting down. I’d like to recommend you put something easily seen on your website that shows the progress you are making in some kind of high level view. Perhaps a blog entry each month. It really looks like nothing has happened since 2019.

Has any progress been made on international shipping? It was a long time ago when I asked about v1 so I’m hoping things have changed. I am in Australia and I’d love to be able to get v2 when it is available.

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Thanks for the feedback and the idea on the blog post. We’ll get something up there shortly.

The good news on the product front for international availability is that we are simultaneously clearing FCC and CE requirements. We did this intentionally to make the product available in more countries. That said, we still need to look into specific requirements on a country by country basis for the new product. We have had a lot of requests from Australia, Canada and many EU countries. This is something we’ll get to once the US rollout has smoothed out. In the interim, it’s worth noting that we do have a lot of international customers who utilized a customs broker to take delivery in the US and ship on their behalf to an overseas address.

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Thank you for the updates. I just recently reserved my V2 unit and would like to know some guesstimate as to how long we’ll have to wait until the units start shipping out. Is it 1 to 3 months away? 3-6 months away? 6-12 months away?

Thanks,

Hey everyone -

Completed assemblies from our manufacturing partner shipped out to our team today. With the huge rise in demand for shipping globally for the holidays, we’re expecting this shipment will take a little while to reach us. I’ll update here when we have the units in hand to begin our final stage of testing and validation. We will also be reviewing the enclosure parts for final acceptance.

A minor unexpected spike was observed during FCC/CE certification that we’re currently working on mitigating. We don’t expect any significant changes will be required to address this but I’ll post an update when we have it resolved.

We’ve made a few updates to our website to reflect the new industrial design for the v2, the updated specs on the Technology page and updated pricing. I’ll start a new topic capturing all those details to answer any related questions there.

Thanks,
Giri
Helm co-founder/CEO

Hi there -

We’ve been cautious about discussing timelines after seeing how everything has taken so much longer to complete during the pandemic with logistics and execution affected globally. That said, we are in a critical phase right now where we are expecting to finish validation of the electronics, enclosure and packaging in the next 2-3 weeks. If that goes as we expect, then I would estimate your reservation will ship in 2-3 months.

Thanks,
Giri
Helm co-founder/CEO