Holi's Bonjour smart clock is officially dead, b​ut the company is refusing refunds

It's also switching off the servers, leaving everyone high and dry

Bonjour smart alarm clock is officially dead
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Just two years after hitting crowdfunding success, Holi has called it quits on the Bonjour smart alarm clock. That means backers who still haven't received their clocks won't do so, while those who did will soon have little more than a time-telling paperweight on their nightstand as Holi is also switching off the servers. Oh, and it's not giving anyone refunds.

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"Today is a sad day. Due to a lack of financial resources, the company has to cease its activity," Holi wrote in a message to backers. It also announced that servers will be switched off in February owing to lack of money.

In case you've forgotten or it passed you by, Bonjour was proposed as an alarm clock and personal assistant rolled into one. Sadly for Holi, after creating a lot buzz back in 2016, Amazon soon came along and launched the Echo Spot, a near-identical product running Alexa and offering many of the same features. Suddenly Holi was taking its proprietary AI up against the Amazon giant, and it seemed doomed to failure.

It's been a rocky two years for backers of the clock too, who were told last year (after an already very delayed launch) that their orders could not be fulfilled due to financial difficulties, nor would they be refunded. Then Holi came back and said that it would reinvest unit sales into production, which would help it fulfill its orders. It didn't sound very promising, and finally the company has admitted defeat.

Crowdfunding is a tough game for first-timers, but Holi has really screwed people over here. Worse still the company has told backers there will be no refunds. "I asked for a refund before I got my unit and was told I could have 50% then they reduced it to 25% for new requests," Brad Mace, one of Bonjour's backers told me. "As I was quite vocal I believe this is why I received my unit in the first (and I believe only batch) sent to backers."

In lieu of a refund, Holi did offer a five-point retrospective on what it could have done differently. While this will be appreciated by approximately no one, it does offer a little insight into the turmoil that was happening behind the scenes, particularly point 4: "Don't trust external suppliers if you have no clue of what they are doing." Eesh.

And none of this acknowledges the pile of complaints from backers who did receive their clocks only to find weren't working properly. Comments started appearing on the company's Kickstarter page last year, complaining that they could not connect their clocks to Holi's servers. Even those who did manage to get theirs working quickly came across other problems.

Performance was reportedly inconsistent, while Holi was emailing users to tell them they were having server problems. "They had software issues constantly which caused my alarms not to go off," said Brad Mace. "Which really isn't good for a product whose main selling point is an alarm clock."

We've contacted Holi for more information, but like most of its backers, our previous email to the company have been largely ignored, so we're not holding out hope for much of a response here.

TAGGED    smart home

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