/>
X

Crowdfunding projects that left backers jilted at the altar

Crowdfunding offers products such as smartwatches, smartphone accessories, and smart printers. Backing them, however, may not always be a smart move. Whether it be to malice, or incompetence on the part of creators, gadget lust is simply sometimes unrequited.

|
rossrubinsmileweb-square.jpg
|
Topic: Hardware
superscreen.png
1 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

SuperScreen

The idea behind SuperScreen was to create a tablet-sized device that could act as a surrogate for your smartphone. The advantage to this approach versus simply purchasing a tablet was easier access to the apps, data, and connectivity already on your smartphone. The device was to be compatible with both Android and iOS but the company finally gave up in October 2018 after launching the project a year and a half earlier.

Also: Gallery: Top 10 detachable tablets

agent-smartwatch.png
2 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

Agent smartwatch

Following the meteoric ascent of the Pebble watch on Kickstarter, the Agent smartwatch was a collaboration between Secret Labs, a company with electronics expertise, and a fashion brand called the House of Horology that had a boutique in New York's SoHo district. The watch leveraged Microsoft .Net development technologies and was early to have such tech as wireless charging. After raising a million dollars and protracted delays that devolved into finger pointing between the partners, the effort dissolved

Also: Moto's G7 Plus, Play, Power debut

keyboard-mod.png
3 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

Keyboard Mod for Moto Z

The Keyboard Mod was designed to enable the Moto Z to have access to a full set of thumb-friendly physical keys. It would have allowed use of the phone in a traditional side-slider configuration on the go or in a sort of mini-laptop angle. Alas, despite being one of the successfully funded mods in a contest that Lenovo ran with Indiegogo, the physics proved too daunting and the creator cancelled the product, giving backers the option of a refund or first dibs on its new project FxTec 1, a side-sliding keyboard-equipped smartphone built from scratch.

Also: Coolest keyboards to give or receive

mprinter.jpg
4 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

mPrinter

Essentially a connected thermal printer, the mPrinter would allow the printing of quick bits of info. Think shopping or to-do lists or perhaps the most impersonal love notes ever. The project creator kept up the effort for nearly three years after the 2012 launch, leaving many of the 708 backers who paid up to $125 for one in the lurch.

Also: DIY-IT Project: 3D printing discovery series 

nextpaper.jpg
5 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

Nextpaper e-ink tablet

With recently crowdfunded products like MobiScribe and NotEReader joining products such as the reMarkable tablet and Sony Digital Paper, more companies have been trying their hand at e-writers. But before them, Australian collective Companion Ink promised to deliver the Android-based nextPaper. The so-called offspring of an iPad and paper would never  come to be. While nextPaper raised only one percent of its campaign goal, it was a flexible funding campaign, which means the creator was still obligated to fulfill rewards. But no updates have surfaced from down under and, while the company's website remains, its support forums are unavailable.

Also: 9 devices with e-ink displays

titan-note.png
6 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

Titan Note

Imagine ia conference table for which the centerpiece is a small cylinder that records everything being said and transcribes it in real time. Now keep imagining it because the Titan Note is not to be. Accused of being a scam by those questioning the limits of multio-party speech, the device hopped across a few different crowdfunding networks before disappearing.

Also: Alas, poor Lotus/IBM Notes, we knew ye well

phree.jpg
7 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

Phree

Phree is a pen-like input device that uses no ink and can write on any surface, enabling you to scribble out notes just about anywhere and have the input show up in an app, a capability that attracted over $1 million on Kickstarter. The company, which is now out of funds, promises to continue on to manufacturing or offer refunds once it can secure funding. It last updated backers just this month.

Also: Samsung S Pen reflections: A differentiator 

pupscan.jpg
8 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

PUP Scan

Nowadays, we all have pretty capable document scanners in our pockets but the makers of PUP Scan saw an opportunity to optimize scanning on the go using laser guidance, automating cloud saving, and enhancing results. Unfortunately, the company couldn't raise funds to produce the backer rewards and shut down after trying to build a business selling to professionals in order to raise investor confidence.

Also: How to scan and fax from your iPhone 

neptune-suite.png
9 of 9 Ross Rubin/ZDNet

Neptune Suite

One of the most audacious projects ever put forth for the future of computing, the Neptune Suite began with the Hub, an Android-based smart cuff that included the brains of the family of devices. Using a 60GHz wireless standard that has evolved into 802.11ay, apps and data on the phone could be accessed via a battery-touchscreen combo that acted as a smartphone or a larger such device that acted as a tablet. The tablet, of course, would also dock into a keyboard to approximate a laptop, which, again, all used the processing on the watch. Even the earbuds were placed into service as a charging cable that could be used to power one device from another. The suite raised over $1 million in 2015 when it promised to run on the now archaic Android Lollipop, but has still not shipped. Neptune says it is still committed to it seeing the light of day.

Also: LG shows off 77-inch transparent flexible display

Related Galleries

Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Go 3, Huawei MateBook 14s, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup
linksys-velop-wifi-6-ax4200-card.jpg

Related Galleries

Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Go 3, Huawei MateBook 14s, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup

16 Photos
DJI Mavic 3 in flight
Superb aerial camera platform

Related Galleries

DJI Mavic 3 in flight

10 Photos
Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station
Satechi Dock5

Related Galleries

Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station

6 Photos
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor

Related Galleries

Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor

10 Photos
DJI Mavic 3: Unboxing and first look
DJI Mavic 3 with controller

Related Galleries

DJI Mavic 3: Unboxing and first look

43 Photos
Yubikey Security Key C NFC
Security Key C NFC

Related Galleries

Yubikey Security Key C NFC

8 Photos
First look: 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro
It's here!

Related Galleries

First look: 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro

20 Photos