Apple-connected Pearl Automation shuts down after low sales of rear-view camera

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in General Discussion
Pearl Automation -- a startup founded by former Apple workers, which sold an iPhone-connected rear-view camera for cars -- has reportedly shut down, largely because of low initial sales.




The situation was worsened by rapid venture capital spending, Axiom sources said. The company allegedly received multiple "acqui-hire" offers but opted to shut down instead.

Pearl was founded by three former iPod engineers in 2014 and eventually recruited dozens more people from an Apple background. The result was the RearVision, a $500 plate-mounted camera linked with iPhone and Android apps through a special car adapter. Beyond rear-facing views, it suports obstacle detection with audio-visual alerts.




The company's long-term goal was autonomous driving technology, and it's not clear how much of its $50 million in funding was spent on future concepts.

Pearl has yet to announce any closure on its website, and in fact released a software update on June 9. The RearVision is unavailable to buy, however, listed as "out of stock." It's uncertain what might happen to existing owners, who were promised a 30-day return policy and a three-year warranty.

Pearl may have been undermined by the cost of its hardware combined with advances in the auto industry. Rear-view cameras are increasingly standard or at least optional on cars, and people with older vehicles may have simply decided to save their money for a new car or other expenses.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,010member
    Didn't know about this company but $500, come on. 
    icoco3hodarStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 19
    svanthemsvanthem Posts: 23member
    $500? Seriously?
    icoco3
  • Reply 3 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Come back to Apple. 
  • Reply 4 of 19
    davendaven Posts: 514member
    I was interested when it came out but the price was way too high. They went after a shrinking market where cost is a big factor. Most newer cars have backup cameras so aftermarket cameras are for older cars that people aren't making $500 purchases to upgrade. They will go for a $150 knockoff 'good enough' solution instead.
    pscooter63StrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 19
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    I was excited and for 100 could have snapped one up. Instead I got a good laugh. 
    king editor the grateicoco3
  • Reply 6 of 19
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,825member
    Yet...more Apple employees who left Apple and failed. These people never learn!

    You can get a license plate holder with a camera on it that connects to your phone for far cheaper than this solution. To me, this was a very stupid idea from the get go. They should have learned from their experience at Apple and see that eventually, this product would be a dud as auto manufacturers would just incorporate them into their vehicles so this product wouldn't be necessary at all in the very near future. 
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 7 of 19
    I installed backup cameras on two older cars for my aging parents - $40-$60 for a kit on Amazon, screen is mounted on dash and no phone connection is needed ~1-2 hours to install. This was a silly idea IMHO - too much fuss - when you get in a car you want the backup camera to work within 2 seconds of starting. (Actually my older Prius built in backup camera drives me crazy because it takes 7-10 seconds to boot and I always have to wait for it to come up).
  • Reply 8 of 19
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,542member
    I never heard of this company.  I'm more interested in a unified front/rear camera system that records constantly without my having to strip out my dash and rear door to wire the darn thing.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    NotsofastNotsofast Posts: 370member
    Aside from the overpriced product, the other key thing that doomed their prospects is a rapidly shrinking market since most new cars come with back up cameras and in 2018 it is mandatory for all new cars to have them. 
    pscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 19
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,933member
    Wasting money.  How much does it cost to create an iPhone app? How difficult is it? Very little, especially to people with Apple background.  So why the company wants $500?  Completely out of sense! 
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,563member
    Notsofast said:
    Aside from the overpriced product, the other key thing that doomed their prospects is a rapidly shrinking market since most new cars come with back up cameras and in 2018 it is mandatory for all new cars to have them. 
    Exactly
  • Reply 12 of 19
    The chances of me blowing that sort of jack to fasten a gizmo to my rusty 2001 Silverado (at 123,000 miles and never needed a major repair) are none or/and slim. Plus, it came with one from the factory: I call it a Rearview Reversifying Glass.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    hodarhodar Posts: 266member
    rob53 said:
    Didn't know about this company but $500, come on. 

    Considering that Amazon has them starting at ~$10, and these have IR emitters for night vision.  When someone sells a similar product for $10-30; and you are even attempting to sell a competitively similar product at $500; you are doomed.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    JohnDeeJohnDee Posts: 29member
    50 MILLION ? Does anybody smell anything ?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,524member
    Add the fact all new cars sold in the US after 2016 are required to have rear facing camera's all because 1500 people over a 10 year period did not pay attention to where their little kids were in their driveway and back over them. Yeah the market dried up and they were selling a product which played on FUD.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,303member
    i think there’s plenty of market for it on old vehicles, but the price was way too high for the market. i emailed them immediately when it was announced, but looks like they weren’t gonna hear it. 
  • Reply 17 of 19
    I think they thought just because they are ex-Apple they can charge Apple pricing for something Apple would never make. 


  • Reply 18 of 19
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 685editor
    sflocal said:
    I never heard of this company.  I'm more interested in a unified front/rear camera system that records constantly without my having to strip out my dash and rear door to wire the darn thing.
    Most cameras aren't designed for continuous use. Cameras for automotive use are small, and they generate heat. The heat from always-on would burn most of them up. There are carplay headunits that can handle front/rear/side cameras and use all of them for backup / parking. But is what you're looking for a front/rear dashcam system for fulltime? that exists. That's RoadEyes.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    daven said:
    I was interested when it came out but the price was way too high. They went after a shrinking market where cost is a big factor. Most newer cars have backup cameras so aftermarket cameras are for older cars that people aren't making $500 purchases to upgrade. They will go for a $150 knockoff 'good enough' solution instead.
    $150? try $15, that's the price of a decent 8 sensor audible setup from china, add another $5 for a rear view night-vision equipped camera and monitor. For that price you can even get wireless solutions that save having to trail wires front to back. Being able to display the camera feed on your iPhone isn't worth the extra $475 for me personally. For that kind of money you can get a decent Pioneer etc. headunit with flip-out 7" screen with optional rear camera if your car is old enough to have a DIN/doubleDIN slot.
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