Full Throttle has been in development for a longer time than The Hobbit but they have only been taking pre-order money for a year.
There are plenty of things to be critical of with H pinball also. Stuff that would get a lot more attention if it were happening in New Jersey instead, but no one is having any agenda against H pinball yet and it is their first game so most of those who have pre-ordered are prepared for a few delays, including me.
Therefor, you do not see so many complaints here on pinside. Let's just say that delivery dates keep slipping and slipping and months into production they have only delivered ca 10 games, so not exactly a flying start. But this will probably change soon, I hope.(it's their first game so they are allowed to have a few hiccups)
The thing that is so great about Heighway though, is the communication. The ceo of the company will answer any question you have right away and give you a detailed explanation for any questions you might have. Other companies will say the following only: It's still on schedule, have faith or we do not talk about when it will be finished (now can you guess which company each statement is from? )
The real test of ability will not be seen before Alien, though. Full Throttle has a pretty small run(so far) compared to that game. So I feel that comparison with other companies like JJP will have to wait until we see how they handle that game.
About the Hobbit, I agree that the waiting sucks, but personally I have heard late fall for more than 6 months now, so I am not that surprised that we hear late October now.
I was hoping for September (and in my house before Christmas) but if it really starts full production by late October I am ok with that now. At least we know that they have enough money to give us these games for certain.(for all I know they might have done it without the cash injection but things would probably have taken even longer)
Getting the game is the most important thing for me.