You state "when expected sales for the year were < 50k"; then perhaps the failure is one of not researching the market properly. Personally I think those that were serious about the device and its intended purposes would have happily paid way up front before release; especially given the cost of the device.
Some of us are not annoyed at the fact we don't have devices in our hands, its the lack of communication, the misleading statements from certain individuals, some of us have been "called over" for daring to suggest that someone may be wrong even when quoting references.
If plans change it doesn't hurt to communicate them properly. Unfortunately the suppliers have in many cases slipped up on that. Plugwash is absolutely spot on in that respect. However where issues were raised some (including admins) took very defensive positions and kept banging the drum that was out of tune.
Some people with 20:20 hindsight claim to have predicted massive sales, but that's pretty damn easy. The Foundation is made up of 7 unpaid volunteers. How do you propose researching the market with that sort of manpower? The Foundation, from the very start, said they wouldn't be taking preorders as they didn't believe in taking money before the product was ready. So they haven't and neither have the distributors. No money changes hand (or shouldn't baring mistakes) until product is ready to ship. Too many other companies have taken money and run.
And I'm not sure why people think there is such a lack of communication. I'd be hard pressed to find anything better from any other company or charity (yes, the Foundation is a charity) out there. Some people just expect too much, need to chill out, and be patient.
Admins/moderators will take defensive position. It's what they do. Are you likely to see an admin or mod slagging off the Foundation? No. Not sure why people would be surprised at that.