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Posts posted by lg05lg

  1. Fxtec is dead. The phones are listed as out of stock. The website hasn't been updated in months. The company has stopped engaging on any channel/platform. Liangchen Chen lists himself on LinkedIn as CTO of Clicks. Let's do an autopsy.

    I have been following Fxtec since they tried to build a Moto Mod with a keyboard under a different name. I watched the Pro1 and Pro1 X launches closely, though I did not sink money into them because I was one of the last BlackBerry holdouts. Here is an overview of what happened from my understanding:

    Fxtec was launched under the name Livermorium and sought to make a keyboard to attach to Motorola smartphones through their Moto Mod program. They announced it at CES 2018 to lots of friendly press coverage. At some point, Motorola axed the Moto Mod program, so Fxtec evidently pivoted to building their own smartphone.

    They began cobbling together the Pro1 with a mix of off-the-shelf parts and a custom keyboard. Against the odds, they did manage to manufacture and ship a functional slider QWERTY phone in 2019 to positive, though lukewarm, reviews. 

    The following year, they announced the Pro1 X in partnership with XDA. This was marketed as a techie or power user's dream, with a choice between multiple OSes and a Snapdragon 835. They appeared to be a real company, not vaporware, especially now that they were releasing a second product. They raised $1.5 million on Indiegogo. They seemed to be here to stay. It all went downhill from there.

    Their order of Snapdragon 835s fell through and they pivoted to the 662 and began announcing delays. In 2021 they started openly telling people that they were redesigning parts of the phone from scratch. They promised and promised and promised the devices would ship soon. Manufacturing began in the summer of 2022 and Expansys was contracted for fulfillment.

    Then it all fell apart. Something went terribly wrong with Expansys, who apparently began selling the phones themselves because Fxtec broke some contract. Backers who had been waiting years at this point were seeing non-backers get the phone well before them. Shipments trickled throughout 2023 but the damage was done. The final communication from Fxtec was in October 2023 with orders still outstanding. 

    In 2024, Clicks was announced at CNET with Fxtec credited and Liangchen Chen as its CTO. 

    What can we say about this company?

    First, they deserve credit for designing a functional phone and shipping thousands of them to consumers. Many other companies have tried ambitious projects and folded before releasing anything (I'm thinking of Onward Mobility in particular...). Fxtec actually did it.

    But that's where the credit ends. This has to be one of the most unethical companies I have ever seen. They have strung backers along for nearly four years now and kept their money hostage, slow-walking or even refusing refunds. They don't appear to be honoring any warranty claims. They have gone dark on their customers.

    Fxtec can blame their manufacturer(s) and warehouses all they want, but China is the most unethical business climate on the planet and when you do business there, you're bound to be screwed. They can claim they had no choice but to build in China, but when things went south, they should have been the ones holding the bag, not the customers who trusted them with a small fortune. Liangchen does not appear to care one iota about decency, good business practices, or his own reputation.

    I expect one day this website will be nothing but a 404 error with zero explanation from Liangchen or anyone else about the fate of the company or its outstanding orders.

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