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.
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.
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.