After months of delays, Leap Motion finally has delivered its gesture-recognition hardware to customers who pre-ordered it (I ordered mine 14 months ago). Did Leap just do for gesture-controlled screens what Apple did for touch-screen inputs?
At South by Southwest this year, Leap offered the most exciting tech demo of the festival, and it probably would have run away with the most buzz if Grumpy Cat's meet and greet hadn't upstaged the startup. Here's what marketers really need to know about Leap now that it's in market:
The first generation's just a signal. Apple is one of few companies that can create transformative, blockbuster first-generation hardware products, as it did with the iPhone and iPad, but even Apple creates products like Apple TV that are lackluster at first. Even as Leap garnered more than nine million views of its preview video for the $80 device, this doesn't guarantee that it will be a long-term winner.
Shipping products is tougher than shipping demo videos. The reviews of Leap's product now are coming out. Instead of just imagining a future of gesture-controlled screens, as popularized in the science-fiction film "Minority Report," there's the reality of the buggy software, the buggier apps that debuted with the device and a gadget that works so-so at a desktop station, but not so well with a laptop. Early adopters can satisfy their curiosity, but this isn't yet ready for the masses.