Our hearts were aflutter with anticipation when the Sphero went up for pre-order last month, but that excitement has since been supplanted by a big knot of disappointment, because the smartphone-controlled robotic ball won't be hitting the market until after the holiday season. In a letter published yesterday, Orbotix CEO Paul Berberian attributed his company's setback to a fundamental economic quandary. "Demand has been greater than expected and our production capabilities are slower than we planned," Berberian wrote. "What that means is only a handful of orders are going to be fulfilled before the holidays and the majority of orders will be fulfilled in January." Writing on behalf of the manufacturer, Berberian went on to accept full blame for the delay, with rather admirable honesty: "We simply underestimated the number of units we'd need to make and, more importantly, we miscalculated how long it would take to bring up the production line." To make up for it, Orbotix is offering free expedited shipping to all customers who pre-ordered the device in time for the holidays, along with a free Sphero t-shirt.