Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald today announced on a conference call that the shipping of the company’s 3D Motion Controller would be delayed until July 22nd. The reasons behind it, Buckwald says, were about ‘living up to expectations’.

“There’s nothing catastrophically wrong,” Buckwald added, “we’re very proud of the product…if we’d tried very hard we would have been able to ship the product [at the original time] but we wouldn’t have had the time to do the iteration and testing that we would want to do otherwise.”

The testing process that it has yet to do will be more along the lines of the way that people interact with the OS and such, rather than technical things like latency or any manufacturing problems. There are 600k devices ready to ship. Buckwald said that the internal conversations indicated that they could ship something in May, but that they really needed more time to polish it. The around 12,000 units shipped to developers will act as the early testing round, with those developers getting the full consumer software suite that Leap Motion wants to perfect before the units ship.

Beta testing of the product will begin the first week of June and pre-orders will begin on a ‘hard date’ of July 22nd, he says. “This will be the first and only delay…we’re 100% confident that there will be a product that we’re proud of and that will delight and amaze our customers.”

The company had previously announced that it will begin shipping its 3D Motion Controller to U.S. and international pre-orderers on May 13th, including a big launch in Best Buy stores. This marks a couple of months delay. Leap Motion recently announced Google Earth support and announced back in early April that it would be bundled with future HP devices. Buckwald noted that this delay will not affect that deal.

Here’s the letter Buckwald will be sending to pre-order customers:

I wanted to reach out to update you on the status of our ship date. After a lot of consideration, we’ve decided to push back the date and will now be shipping units to pre-order customers on July 22nd.

This is not a decision we take lightly. There are hundreds of thousands of people in over 150 countries who have pre-ordered Leap devices, some as long as a year ago. These people are part of our community and there is nothing more important to us than getting them devices as quickly as possible.

We’ve made a lot of progress. When we first started taking orders back in May we were twelve (very tired) people in a basement. Now we are eighty (although still tired and possibly still in a basement). We’ve manufactured over six hundred thousand devices and delivered twelve thousand Leaps to amazing developers who are building applications that let people do things that just wouldn’t have been possible before. These developers have given us great feedback that we’ve used to make huge improvements to the stability and polish of the product. We’re really proud of Leap as both a company and a product.

The reality is we very likely could have hit the original ship date. But it wouldn’t have left time for comprehensive testing. This will come in the form of a beta test that will start in June. We will give the 12k developers who currently have Leap devices access to the feature complete product including OS interaction (today developers only have access to the SDK). We will also invite some people who are not developers to join the beta test.

Ultimately, the only way we felt 100% confident we could deliver a truly magical product that would do justice to this new form of interaction, was to push the date so we would have more time for a larger, more diverse beta test.

I really appreciate your patience. I know it’s been a long wait. Everyone that works at Leap is working tirelessly to make sure that wait is worth it. Thanks so much for your help and support.

David and I will be participating in an open video Q&A using Google Hangout tomorrow. We’ll send along more specific information on that shortly. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact our support team at support@leapmotion.com or my personal email (buckwald@leapmotion.com). As always, we will not charge pre-order customer’s credit cards until the devices have actually shipped.

Thanks again. Michael Buckwald