Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"The crowdfunded phone of the future was a multimillion-dollar scam"

Verge:

The Futurefön’s page showed a sleek, palm-sized touchscreen that slotted into a laptop dock, then folded flat and flipped open again, revealing a second screen and a full-sized laptop keyboard. It could run both Windows and Android, and its creator, a startup called IdealFuture, promised to replace your phone, laptop, and tablet at an incredible price of $799.

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Fans of straightforward computing might find a three-in-one transforming dual-screen laptop ridiculous. But in 2014, lots of major electronics companies were chasing similar ideas. In 2011, Motorola had released a full-sized laptop shell for its Atrix Android phone called the Lapdock. The 2013 Razer Edge was a high-powered laptop that doubled as a handheld gaming console. The 2012 Asus PadFone was a 4-inch phone that fit completely inside of a 10-inch tablet that paired with a laptop-style keyboard and an electronic stylus, which was also a wireless headset. The same year as the Futurefön campaign, Asus announced an even more ambitious five-in-one Android / Windows phone / laptop / tablet at Computex, although the idea never made it to market.

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Futurefön backers in 2014 seemingly didn’t look too closely into IdealFuture’s background, and neither did reporters. Where the IF Convertible had gotten little press, the Futurefön attracted attention from several tech sites — even CNBC, which featured the device in a crowdfunding “face off” article. The coverage was skeptical but generally polite, taking the company’s claims in good faith while noting that IdealFuture was probably aiming way too high.

But there was one place where the Futurefön wasn’t just a cool oddity: r/ShittyKickstarters, a Reddit forum for discussing shady crowdfunding campaigns.

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The community was hooked. “From the start, you could tell that it was completely wrong,”
In other news:
Trump superfan . . . is in hot water with his fans, after raising nearly $15,000 to move to Washington, D.C. to improve his online video show and then taking the cash and moving to Miami instead.

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[He] visited the White House in July as one of the right-wing personalities invited to Trump’s “Social Media Summit,” [and] also claimed that Miami, rather than the capital of the United States, will be a much better place for him to cover the 2020 presidential race.
And: