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Pearl Automation Shuts Down After Poor Sales of Its $500 Vehicle Backup Camera

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,484
13,123



Pearl Automation, the vehicle accessory company founded by ex-Apple engineers and which debuted its $500 "RearVision" wireless backup camera system just one year ago, has shut down following poor sales of the device, reports Axios.

What happened: Early product sales disappointed, which was exacerbated by a high burn rate.

What next? The Pearl Automation team received several "acqui-hire" offers, but opted instead to shut down and part ways, according to a source close to the situation.
RearVision, which went on sale last September, was a license plate frame with dual HD cameras, solar power, and Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to an OBD port hub and an iPhone or Android phone. While it was a slick and easy to install system, the $500 price tag undoubtedly contributed to its downfall.

Pearl appears to have had larger ambitions related to autonomous driving technology and driver safety, but with its initial project suffering from poor sales, the company lacked the resources to push forward on its follow-up products.

Article Link: Pearl Automation Shuts Down After Poor Sales of Its $500 Vehicle Backup Camera
 

KAZphoto

macrumors member
Sep 15, 2016
99
46
This is absurdly priced for what it is. $100 max and I would have bought it for my classic car. My late model vehicle already had this capability added when I bought a CarPlay head unit AND backup camera for $400. This kind of tells you how much they missed the mark on price point...
 
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DakotaGuy

macrumors 601
Jan 14, 2002
4,088
3,416
South Dakota, USA
Most new vehicles already have this built in and soon it will be required. I'd say those ex-engineers failed to do proper market research. Sure there are a lot of older vehicles out there, but few are going to pay this much to add an accessory that many other companies already offer.
 
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james.dylan

macrumors newbie
Oct 6, 2007
12
0
Honolulu, Hawaii
I saw this when it first came out, and totally wanted one, but not at that price. You can buy a read view camera for under $100. That's the reason I didn't buy one. Oh, and also, my Jeep has a weird license plate holder that doesn't allow me to remove it.
 
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splogue

macrumors 6502
Aug 1, 2008
311
156
Cary, NC
A real shame.

I wanted one and was okay with the cost as long as it worked like a typical Apple product. In other words, it needed to "just work."

Unfortunately, the Bluetooth connection was seamless but was too low bandwidth to carry the video. For that, the connection needed to be over wifi, and they couldn't make that happen automatically. The upshot was that every time I wanted to use their product, I would have to fiddle with my phone first, which (obviously) wasn't going to happen. I was hoping they would find some way to resolve this, but it never happened.

Now I feel badly for the people who did buy one and now have a very expensive license plate frame that will never, ever get another update and will therefore likely stop working the next time iOS is updated. Like, this Fall.

Sean
[doublepost=1498446847][/doublepost]
The kind of people willing to spend 500$ on this kind of thing already drive a car with a backup camera...

Respectfully disagree. Buying (or more likely, leasing) new cars constantly is not something most people with real money do. I don't mean the very wealthy, of course - many of those don't even purchase cars at all and instead have them supplied through their companies.

Sean
 
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krewger

macrumors member
Sep 28, 2012
78
9



Pearl Automation, the vehicle accessory company founded by ex-Apple engineers and which debuted its $500 "RearVision" wireless backup camera system just one year ago, has shut down following poor sales of the device, reports Axios.

RearVision, which went on sale last September, was a license plate frame with dual HD cameras, solar power, and Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to an OBD port hub and an iPhone or Android phone. While it was a slick and easy to install system, the $500 price tag undoubtedly contributed to its downfall.

Pearl appears to have had larger ambitions related to autonomous driving technology and driver safety, but with its initial project suffering from poor sales, the company lacked the resources to push forward on its follow-up products.

Article Link: Pearl Automation Shuts Down After Poor Sales of Its $500 Vehicle Backup Camera
[doublepost=1498449148][/doublepost]Shame they did zero marketing, didn't even know it existed.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
35,139
37,423
If this was released 15 years ago maybe they would’ve had more success. It’s a standard feature in most cars these days.

15 years ago? Even five years ago this product may have had an impact if it was priced more appropriately and marketed thoroughly.
 
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givmedew

macrumors newbie
Jun 9, 2011
5
2
IL
Well I would have been interested in this for my 25 year old car and my 12 year old SUV but the price was insane and I wasn't really aware this product even existed outside of a brief blurb about them here on this forum. Did they ever advertise?

Don't loose interest just do it the correct way. You can buy a much better camera and a special rearview mirror that has a hidden screen in it. You can go wireless to save some money or pay to have it installed for the best experience. The quality is usually as good or better than what you see on most non luxury cars and heck sometimes even better than luxury cars if your very careful about which camera you choose.

I have a Chevy Volt 2013 fully loaded which is like a $35-45k car and they used a camera that is so cheap I could probably get a better chip/lense for $15 now it's important to note that chip/lense isn't everything... You have a housing and cables and an extra video input on the radio w/ analog to digital conversion and a relay hooked up to the reverse system.

All said I can buy every one of those parts myself for less than $40 and Chevy could have double or triple the quality of the camera for an extra $15.

What I'm getting at is that if you carefully select a Sony chipped camera w/ high dynamic range or wherever they call it or copy or something similar and use the rear view mirror add on you can have something better than what most cars have for under $200 self installed wireless or under $400 for wired... (Parts cost less but installation will be $100-200 depending on car and if they run a relay to the reverse to turn the screen off while driving)

I upgraded my stock camera to a kit I had laying around for flying drones. It has what I think is called High Dynamic Range which can be turned on and off with an external plug in remote. What it does is that as the time of day changes or if lights are aimed at the camera it adjusts exposure and uses multiexposure (I think) to provide detail that would be lost on the stock camera. I think it might also switch to a near B+W mode in extreme darkness. I don't remember all the features but bottom line is that it destroys the stock one and has 2x the lines of resolution (actually I think it's 3x but the radio can't display that high of a res through that input)
 
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Sylvan

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2008
129
391
California
Everyone on this forum predicted failure when the product was announced last year. I don't know how in the world they secured $50 million in VC funding for this fledgling company.
 
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szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68020
Jul 28, 2012
2,036
1,840
I guess they blew all that money on Facebook ads. I remember seeing their ads every few minute or so around the end of last year.
 
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HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,985
1,992
Western US
The only surprising thing about this is that they managed to last this long. This was a dog right from conception.
 
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SoGood

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2003
442
224
Flawed for the price and a diminishing market as more and more new cars come with these as standard. Hardly a surprise whether ex-Apple employee or not.
 
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