Fusion Micro Supercomputer project goes quiet. I ask, scampaign?

Updated on 11 December 2015 by

This is my opinion…

This ultra-mobile PC had specifications that were extremely interesting and desirable. The public financed the project to the tune of $61,053 but now…it’s all quiet over at Fusion Micro. “The world’s smallest supercomputer” project on IndieGoGo has 1465 backers, some of who should have received the first of the Fusion Micro Supercomputers. There hasn’t been a detailed update on the project web page for over a month, except this one: the latest official update on the Fusion Micro Supercomputer. Some investors are very unhappy.

fusion micro latest

The Fusion Micro Supercomputer raised red flags for me back in August. Their Twitter account followed me and I took a look into their product, as you would if you’re interested in ultra mobile computing. What I saw was big red flags.

I go to trade shows and see vaporware all over the place but at least in a booth I can ask questions, see specifications, prototypes and look people in the eyes. What I saw on the Fusion Micro website was, to me, unbelievable. There were photoshopped images, bloated specification claims and, the one thing that really set alarm bells going, no public discussion allowed – on a crowdfunding site!

I felt good about my post about the Fusion Micro project. I’d added my knowledge to the scene, despite not being allowed to ask questions publicly on the IndieGoGo site. I hoped that potential backers would consider my expertise before giving money. If you go public, expect public opinion.

What happened to me next was private, until now.

A short while after posting my opinion I got an email, from an ‘Attorney at Law.’ I don’t really know what that means but any Cease and Desist claim that threatens a lawsuit is something you ponder over. Aurum Mobile Devices (who?) were claiming that my post was “…defamatory, constitute tortious interference with business, and as such, are actionable under California law.” That email scared the shit out of me.

Research helped.

The name of the law company checked-out as a legitimate address but the email was sent via Gmail. What law company uses a Gmail address? I checked out a few of the IP addresses in the header and found what I still think is a red flag – It seemed like the email was crafted. I decided to ignore it, to stay quiet about it (until now) and to wait for a formal, recorded mail through the post. I still haven’t seen anything in my post box.

The photoshopped images remained on the website which gave me a near-100% confirmation that something was wrong with the project. When you know that you’ve highlighted ripped-off images why would you do nothing about the images? Or why would you not respond if you had permission to post those images?

Oh, and the name of the ‘Attorney at Law’ also appears as a Google Plus profile…promoting the Fusion Micro Supercomputer. Red flag! If you’re running a crowdfunding project you do everything you can to react to public comments. You show your face. You post about progress, and plans, and problems. This project has none of that.

Fusion Micro continued to post ‘offers’ on their IndieGoGo site. T-shirts, cases and…upgrades. They came thick and fast and the response to backers questions was good but one point a 256 GB storage option was offered and I thought to myself…just how big IS this pen-stick supercomputer?

As I analyze the engineering and project I find myself with a couple of positive thoughts, see a marketing breakdown and conclude that this project is a scam.

In my opinion Fusion Micro were, and might still be, planning a real product. They, possibly, had a supplier that was promising to deliver exactly what they had stated on the IndieGoGo website. They might have been ripped-off themselves. They might have forwarded thousands of dollars to a company, or a middleman, that was offering an exciting product that really could change the game for stick-PCs. If that’s the case then why, even if there are problems, would you stay quiet? This is the marketing breakdown that is going to kill any future projects by the owner.

This is interesting. As I do more reasearch while I write this I find this, which sounds really good: http://shoutengine.com/GamerNationRadio/interview-with-fusion-micros-brandon-gerard-11968 

In the interview a Brandon Gerard (I can’t find any related online reference to this person) talks about a $55 offer price and a $125 final retail price. He talks about specifications and is clearly knowledgeable about the platform. I’ve listened to the complete recording and it sounds fine as a marketing pitch to me. The gaming references make me cringe a little – the latest generation Atom platforms were never going to be truly gaming capable but I’ll give them some leeway on that because crowdfunding is often used as a marketing tool and to offer a $55 early investor option makes sense because you can raise funding to get the $125 products to market. Brandon reveals that the Fusion Micro is a Shenzen, China-engineered product. Brandon also welcomes comments…via the host of the podcast. No email is given. No Twitter account is given. No contact details at all, were given. The website details were given. Red flags for me!

Even if the owner of the project, a Mike King from Las Vegas, comes back with armfuls of real products, a real reason about why there hasn’t been an update (consider health issues, death, breakdown, prison, insolvency) and ships them out tomorrow I believe the Fusion Micro project has lost it’s wings. Consider this: The first products should be shipping now and there’s no image of the real product, no videos of their testing. What about an image of the packaging? Surely you would release an image of the packaging before shipping started, right?

My opinion, as before: This is a scampaign, or just stupid.

There are no images in this post…because I can’t find a real product.

I welcome feedback from Fusion Micro. Let’s talk, in public.

 

15 Comments For This Post

  1. bobdeloyd says:

    And all I got was this stupid T-Shirt….

  2. wimup says:

    There’re just too many scams and projects with unrealistic goals. Take a look at this UMPC campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-dragonfly-futurefon–3#/
    That’s just way too to optimistic of a device.

  3. AlvaCGz says:

    I actually felt optimistic after watching the working prototype video though!
    But I agree that the design implications are very concerning…
    Anyways, thank you for sharing that project’s campaign. I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise.

  4. AlvaCGz says:

    Hi Chippy! I wish you the very best outcome out of this ridiculous situation.

    I am convinced that when you uploaded the “Scampaign or Stupid” post on August 18th, you were looking to prevent your audience from being scammed.

    I was wondering though… are you aware of the MagicStick?

    I saw the campaign a couple days ago and now that you mentioned Stick PCs again, I thought that I should let you know. I know that a lot of people would appreciate your opinion on it:

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/magicstick-most-powerful-pc-stick-8gb-ram#/

  5. davey says:

    It’s $139. When will there be really cheap windows machine?

  6. AlvaCGz says:

    Good question… Have you seen the Kangaroo by Infocus? :)

  7. davey says:

    No. It’s better ($99 + $3s&h) but I’m thinking it should be doable in the $50ish range. Hard to imagine that some Pi-like device has that much less power that some ancient PCs that will run Win7/8. Or that the requirements for windoze is that much more than Linux that it takes 2x the computer to run it.

  8. AlvaCGz says:

    Hmm… what specs are we talking about inside your $50ish device? Does it have a display, battery or accessories?
    Also, you should take into consideration that a Windows 10 Home license is like $120 on its own, so in order to cost so little, your proposed device is unlikely to have a genuine license.

  9. davey says:

    specs would be similar to a Pi except that it’d run windows. The basic function at the moment is to control and monitor some equipment. (read a few sensors, light some lights, send data back to a server). Essentially the type of thing that you’d use a PI or arduino for but we have code and drivers that run on windows that would be hard to port over.

    $120 is the retail cost for win10, OEM is much less (considering that you can buy a computer with it installed for under $200. ) There are embedded versions of Windows 7/8 that are designed for these minimalist applications that are even cheaper.

    The prices have dropped since I last checked. The one in your link is $80 but only available in the physical store. On Amazon it’s $126. It also has a tie-in with office 365 so i imagine microsoft is sweetening the deal to get people hooked on subscriptions.

    It does go back to my question. If you can get a tablet for $60-$80, why can’t you get a bare micro-pc (ie Fusion Mobile) for under $50?

    They do have a few cheepies like this for $60 with Prime shipping.
    http://www.amazon.com/KOCASO-W700-Windows-8-1-Tablet/dp/B0115W8RLK

  10. AlvaCGz says:

    I guess it is pretty reasonable to ask for a $50 stick PC with TW700 internals, but I really doubt that it is coming any time soon…
    A device with such a low price would definitely sell like CRAZY! But sadly, there are just too many uneducated customers in the wild that would expect a better performance and consequently blame Microsoft for the inevitable lag while attempting to multitask with 1GB of RAM or get going with only 16GB of storage… (This has already happened with the TW700)
    It is a nice idea though.

  11. AlvaCGz says:

    I guess it is pretty reasonable to ask for a $50 stick PC with TW700 internals, but I really doubt that it is coming any time soon…
    A device with such a low price would definitely sell like CRAZY! But sadly, there are just too many uneducated customers in the wild that would expect a better performance and consequently blame Microsoft for the inevitable lag while attempting to multitask with 1GB of RAM or get going with only 16GB of storage… (This has already happened with the TW700)
    It is a nice idea though.

  12. AlvaCGz says:

    Hey Dave, I stumbled across this old conversation that we had, and I just wanted to let you know that there is that new ‘Chip’ 9$ Computer, in case it is useful for you.
    Here you go: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1598272670/chip-the-worlds-first-9-computer/

  13. AlvaCGz says:

    Also, please check: http://www.microcenter.com/product/439773/TW700_Tablet_-_Black

  14. davey says:

    Why don’t you forward the fake email to the real law firm? They may be pissed enough and have the resources to track the guy down for posing as them or fraud or practicing law without being a lawyer. :-)

  15. sbr says:

    This campaign screamed scam all over the place but because of the attractive prices I was also very tempted to pledge for a hdmi stick or two.

    Chippy’s initial post, some more research and an email to and from Mike King, Phil Mershon and Brandon made me decide to not participate..

    I asked them if it would be safe to participate. This is how they answered:

    —-
    michael king 8/19/15:

    Yes it is safe to participate
    —-

    Couple of minutes later:

    —–
    michael king 8/19/15:

    ABSOLUTELY REAL!

    —–

    An hour later (I partly removed the phone numbers):

    —–
    michael king 8/19/15
    cc: aurumappdev:

    This we are very real. Thankyou for reaching out to our team. If you have any further questions please contact me or Brandon 9xx yyy zzzz or

    Phil Mershon 7xxx yyy zzzz.

    Team Fusion Micro
    —-

    And another one that day:

    —-
    Mr. Xxxx,

    My name is Phil Mershon, with Return on Initiative. We are working with Mike King and Brandon
    to gain crowdfunding for the Indiegogo project. This is a legitimate
    offer. Please note Mike King’s response in the emails below.

    We look forward to having you as a backer.
    —-

    I recently tried to contact them but no answer..

    So yes, this is still a scam to me.

Search UMPCPortal

Top Ultra Mobile PCs

Recommended Reading

GPD Pocket 2
7.0" Intel Core m3-8100Y
Viliv S5
4.8" Intel Atom (Silverthorne)
GPD Win 2
6.0" Intel m3 7Y30
Acer Aspire E11 ES1
11.6" Intel Celeron N2840
Archos 9
9.0" Intel Atom Z510
Microsoft Surface Go
10.0" Intel Pentium 4415Y
HP Chromebook 11 G3
11.6" Intel Celeron N2830
Lenovo ThinkPad P40
14.0" Intel Core i7 5500U
Lenovo IdeaPad A10
10.1" ARM Cortex A9 (Dual-Core)
Samsung Galaxy Book 12
12.0" Intel Core i5 7200U