Meizu's Failed No-Holes Phone was Totally Just a Joke, You Guys

By Holly Brockwell on at

Remember when Meizu tried to crowdfund a phone with no holes on it for £995? That's right, a phone with no headphone jacks, SIM card slots, charging ports or even buttons, for a grand.

Well, just like the holeless phone Vivo also announced, most of us had forgotten about it. But not Meizu. Meizu would like you to know that the whole thing was totally just a joke and definitely not an embarrassing failure that they've just called major attention to.

As Editor Tom said at the time:

"The company initially put up 100 'Exclusive Engineer Units' up for pre-order, with the outrageous-sounding pricetag. But if you thought $1,299 was bad, there was a single 'Exclusive Pioneer Unit' available for an even-more-ridiculous $2999 (£2,297). It doesn't seem like there's a hardware difference between the two, but the Pioneer Unit is expected to be dispatched within five days. The rest won't arrive until sometime in April.

I would bet money on the Pioneer Unit being bought by some sort of journalist, because it may be a small price to pay for three months of exclusive content."

Well, in fact it seems no one really bought them at all. The company's Indiegogo campaign raised less than half of its $100,000 goal, and now Meizu CEO Jack Wong has come forward to say it was all a big joke:

"This crowdfunding project was just the marketing team messing about. The holeless phone is just a development project from the R&D department, we never intended to mass-produce this project."

You can read the thread on Meizu's forum here (it's in Chinese).

Understandably, the announcement hasn't gone down very well. No, the crowdfunder wasn't a huge success, but still 29 fans put $45,000 (about £34k) of their own money up to help Meizu reach its goal, and declaring it all a bit of fun doesn't seem very respectful of that. Customers really don't like it when wealthy companies put things on crowdfunding sites just to get some attention.

If it hadn't been a joke (and we don't think it was), the phone wouldn't have done well commercially even without the crowdfunder. For starters, it wasn't really holeless -- how's it going to pick up your voice for phone calls with no openings? The mic holes might have been small, but they were there, and so was a paperclip hole for resetting.

Secondly, the phone's specs weren't amazing -- it ran on the slightly outdated Snapdragon 845 chipset, which isn't what you want on a £1000 flagship. Thirdly, it could only charge wirelessly, although it did charge at 18W which is faster than a lot of wireless pads on the market.

Ultimately, the world isn't ready for holeless phones. But the classy thing to do would have been to let the crowdfunder die quietly and accept the loss, rather than trying to reverse-engineer an April fool out of it. [Engadget]