I feel deknow is correct in that it is suited to the backyard beekeeper who wants a quick and easy smoke. Remember it is the backyard beekeeper that has the hardest time lighting a smoker and likes to look in their two or three hives a lot. There are backyard beekeepers with lots of money out there, but I am not sure if there is enough to recoup all of the tooling cost this thing required.
As far as the battery pack it really isn't proprietary, in that a replacement pack can be made up by a place like Batteries Plus
. They will replace the batteries in a cordless drill battery case and I have had them makeup battery packs for my son's battery powered plane. An interesting idea would have been to design the smoker to take the battery pack from an 18 volt Dewalt cordless drill. Then they would be able to sell the unit with or without the battery and charger and keep the price down and likely increase sales enough to overcome the lower price. It would make the smoker a lot more attractive.
I did notice their warranty void notice and I suspect the connector wires burn up. The heating element replacement at $35 is a bit high in my book. The connecting wire likely needs to be replace with a fire poof wire
similar to what is used in cook tops.
If they can get the price down to $100, I believe it will sell. I hope they succeed, because they look like the put a have a lot of money in developing the product.
The key to lighting a smoker with a match is very dry tender and fuel, or use a propane torch.