The makers of Coin — a Bluetooth-enabled "connected card" designed to allow users to store magnetic stripe information for multiple credit and debit cards on a single device — on Friday announced that they would delay a full launch until next year, but would begin sending out 10,000 "beta" units to pre-order customers sooner.
At least 1,000 customers have already been issued preproduction Coin units, and the company will now expand that to at least 10,000 in lieu of a full launch. Backers should receive emails allowing them to claim their beta device in the next few days.
Coin works by loading card information using a companion smartphone application and dongle which connects to the Coin via Bluetooth. Each Coin can store up to eight cards at a time in its onboard memory, and pressing a small button switches between cards and displays the currently-selected card an embedded e-ink screen.
The device drew equal parts applause and skepticism when it was announced. The possibilities for increase convenience are apparent, but many pointed out possible security implications — including the possible financial harm thieves could do to a person by swiping a single Coin, rather than being forced to try for a full wallet.
Additionally, others panned Coin for the lack of support for the emerging chip-and-signature standard that has begun to expand among U.S. card issuers. Coin CEO Kanishk Parashar said that the company has yet to begin exploring the addition of a chip, and is instead focused on launching its first version.
"What we'll do is that once we get through this first shipment of Coins, we'll be able to have enough resources to do an R&D project," he told CNET.