I am sure some of you are asking that question so we wanted to provide the answer. The short version is that units will begin shipping to our beta team in November with general availability units to follow in the first quarter. A more detailed explanation of the reasoning is as follows:
In development of the FLEX-6000 Signature Series, we have consistently assumed the position that it is more important to do things right the first time than to take shortcuts. Many times in software development there are design decisions where one can choose to quickly “hard code” for the short term rather than to take the time to architect a long term solution or “framework.” We have simply made the decision to architect a solid framework so that we deliver a product that will last for years to come.
While the FLEX-6000 Series resembles radio architectures FlexRadio currently delivers to its government customers, the new transceivers are unlike any other commercial amateur radio products on the market. Though we are leveraging the work we did for our commercial customers and have redirected our resources from this project to our amateur project, we are not duplicating it, hence the additional development time. Think of the FLEX-6000 Series as a “platform” for delivering radio applications. Some of those applications are obvious and some of the most interesting are not so obvious. When building a platform, it is important not only to implement the common use cases but to plan for the future ones as well.
So where are we? We are currently developing on four parallel paths: FPGA Digital Signal Processing (DSP), radio software/Application Programming Interface (API) for the business logic and base-band DSP, Graphical User Interface development (GUI), and GUI integration to the radio API. We are also performing a detailed use case analysis to make sure we have covered all the bases in the design.
Most of the major component modules and the GUI framework are in place and we have begun integration of the GUI with the radio’s network API. We are streaming real signals over the network to real spectral displays running on the real GUI with real audio playing through the speaker. We are hard at work to complete integration and testing and are focusing on completing the coding of the various use cases.
On the hardware front, our contract manufacturing partner, Austin Manufacturing Services (AMS), is in the process of building pre-production radios. Pre-production is where you build production ready hardware in low volume to work out any production kinks. We expect this process to be completed during the month of November. Assuming all goes well in testing the pre-production units, we will be prepared to release and ramp production volumes when the software is ready.
Our team is highly motivated and working hard toward the goal of delivering a radio that you will enjoy and be proud to own for many years. We also want it to be a radio that we are proud to deliver. That is why we call it the “Signature Series.” Thank you for placing your confidence in FlexRadio and for extending your patience while we bring you the best radio we know how to provide.
Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR President & CEO