Earlier this year, the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop made a splash at Mobile World Congress thanks to its massive size and 18,000mAh battery. But while everyone wants better battery life on their smartphones, it turns out no one wants it so bad that they’d be willing to lug around an inch-thick brick. Today, the phone’s Indiegogo campaign stumbled into oblivion, raising a mere $15,005 of its ambitious $1.2 million goal—a paltry 1.2 percent in total.
Still, it’s kind of hard to be terribly sad since this was clearly a stunt, to begin with. While we initially reported the phone would go on sale for 600 euros (roughly $675) this summer, Avenir Telecom—the suspect company behind the phone—went to Indiegogo in the first place. There’s a reason most tech journalists are wary of products that rely on crowdfunding campaigns. Most are gimmicky prototypes hocked by marketers that aren’t intended to see the light of day, regardless of how much media buzz it might get. The ones that do make it are usually run by companies like Sphero, which have a good reputation for bringing products to market, don’t really need the cash, and mostly use crowdfunding platforms to engage with a community of enthusiasts.
There are definite signs that the Energizer phone’s Indiegogo campaign was more stunt than a realistic fundraising attempt. Although it offered a discounted $549 early bird price, $1.2 million is a lofty goal that would’ve required significantly more backers than the eleven it actually received. That means an average contribution of over $1,300 per backer, which doesn’t bode well for the viability of any crowdfunded project. Secondly, this sort of product always does well on a stage like Mobile World Congress, where it offers the exact sort of novelty and spectacle that grizzled tech writers and enthusiasts can gawk at. In real life? The market for the P18K was always going to be much more niche, especially given its chunky build.
Originally, the phone was meant to deliver 90 hours of call time, 100 hours of music playback, two days of video playback, and 50 days of standby all on a single charge. Now, I would love that but not at the expense of lugging around an actual brick in my purse.
It seems Avenir Telecom has taken its massive failure to heart. In the comments section of the campaign, the company stated, “Although it didn’t reach its goal, we will work on further improvement on the P18K (design, thickness, etc.) as we do believe there is a rising interest for smartphones with incredible battery life, which can also be used as power banks.”
Cool. Call us when it’s thinner. For now, us regular folks are perfectly fine settling for an extra charger or external battery.