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Leap Motion delays shipping date for pre-orders of its new device

A user demonstrates a new motion-control sensor in this undated handout photo provided by Leap Motion April 15, 2013. (HANDOUT/REUTERS)

Leap Motion said Thursday that it will be delaying shipments of its device, which allows users to control their PCs with gestures.

The company had originally planned to ship its accessories the week of May 13, but said Thursday in a conference call that it will push that date back to July 22. Retail partners will get the devices shortly after that date, said Leap Motion chief executive Michael Buckwald on a conference call announcing the delay.

“The reason for the decision is to leave more room for testing,” Buckwald said. “It’s become clear that we need a larger beta test.”

The company has already begun sending notifications about the delay to users who have pre-ordered the device. Leap Motion will not charge users’ credit cards for the device until it ships, the company said.

Buckwald said that there’s no major problem with the device or its software, but that Leap Motion simply wants to “polish” it more before shipping to consumers. While the timeline has been set back, he said, he believes that Leap could have met the original ship date but with a product wasn’t as stable or smooth as the company would like.

“There’s nothing catastrophically wrong. We’re very proud of the product,” Buckwald said.

The decision to delay will give the company the opportunity to reach a larger pool of early testers, he said.

 Leap Motion has already shipped devices to 12,000 of the more than 60,000 developers who applied to its beta program. But the company also wants to test the product with users who may feel less comfortable using gestures to control a computer instead of a mouse and keyboard.

The company will not be allowing consumers to sign up for the beta test, Buckwald said.

Buckwald stressed that there would be no further delays, and that the new timeline should not affect announced partnerships with HP and Asus to bundle the Leap controller with their PCs.

“This really isn’t motivated by any major issues,” Buckwald said. “We really believe in meeting our own expectations and I think a little additional testing is needed.”

Buckwald and co-founder David Holz will be hosting an open Q&A on the delays via Google Hangout on Friday, the company said, and will give customers more information on that session soon.

Related stories:

Leap Motion teams up with Google Earth

Ideas@Innovations: Leap Motion teams up with HP to bundle and embed 3D motion tech in products

Leap Motion sets ship date for controllers

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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