SOUTH JORDAN — Dubbed the “muscle car of smartphones,” the Saygus phone debuted to rave reviews at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas two years ago. The Utah company promised the first round would ship in April 2015.
Over two years later, no one has received a phone.
“First of all, I really want them to succeed. I think this is an awesome phone, I really want it to come to fruition,” said early Saygus customer Andy Wermel. “Second thing, I think they’ve done a really, really poor job on their customer service side and on their marketing side.”
Wermel, a mechanical engineer in North Carolina, purchased a Saygus phone from the website in February 2015 and waited excitedly for his order, which promised to arrive in six to eight weeks. It was the end of March 2015 when Wermel got an email saying Saygus had experienced some delays and would ship a few months later. They then launched an Indiegogo campaign that brought in over $1 million in presells.
Saygus told KSL in 2015 that delivery dates for phones preordered through the company website earlier in the year had to be pushed back due to manufacturing delays, but that the delay gave them the opportunity to add three more features to the phone.
A couple days before his phone’s expected arrival date, however, Wermel got an email informing him that his order would not be arriving.
“You don’t do that,” Wermel said. “This isn’t something that popped up two days before you’re supposed to ship, you knew something was going on way before this, and you’re in a position where you need to let people — whose money you have — know. It’s a total breakdown of communication the whole way through.”
Wermel communicated with Saygus via the company website to continuously ask about delivery dates, but never got any definitive answers. A year and three months after initially ordering the phone, Wermel asked for a refund in May 2016.
He was told if he could hang on, he would receive an array of free devices with his order or even be part of a beta testing group. Seven months later, Wermel finally had enough. He had gone through three phones in the time since he had ordered the Saygus, and the third had just died. He requested a refund and received his money a few days later.
“I still want this thing,” Wermel said. “If they can hit the specs that they’re saying, they’re out of this world. I’ll gladly pay the price that they’re asking. … If the device existed and worked the way that they said, I’d have no problems forking over that money.”
Others are less optimistic. Cameron Clark never bought a smartphone from Saygus but became suspicious of the device early on, saying something was “fishy about it.”
FCC: Our WiFi power consumption was too high. It's now fixed. We've been completing antenna tuning at the FCC facility and expect news soon. pic.twitter.com/TpQMhYrlbf— Team Saygus (@Saygus) July 28, 2017
“They were promising these hardware specs for this phone that they’re going to make, which is outrageous at the time,” Clark said. “Top companies with billions of dollars can’t produce (that), yet they’re promising they can, and now it’s ... years later and all these specs that they promised are outdated.”
One of the phone’s most anticipated features included a new gaming and movie beaming technology, which would allow users to wirelessly transmit HD video to nearby screens without Wi-Fi. While many have said this technology is the same as Chromecast, Miracast or Apple TV, Saygus tweeted its followers explaining that it’s vastly different, since all three of those technologies require a Wi-Fi connection.
Slide decks, Power Points, pics or any movie, home video or game can be beamed to the TV or overhead movie projector without WiFi in HD!— Team Saygus (@Saygus) June 8, 2016
The Utah company last spoke with KSL in January 2016, claiming a series of setbacks forced the company to push back the delivery dates multiple times. Saygus founder Chad Sayers said two manufacturing partners failed to produce parts of an acceptable quality and, though the company went to production twice in 2015, it was forced to pull out due to quality concerns both times. Saygus then decided to hire its own team in China to complete the production sometime in August 2015.
KSL recently reached out several times to Saygus for comment but did not receive a response. The company currently has a building located in South Jordan.
Saygus has occasionally tweeted out updates, the last of which announced that the phone passed the Federal Communications Commission around Aug. 11. There are quite a few, however, who don’t quite believe it.
Passed the FCC! Filling out paperwork now. Some LTE bands still in process... its the 'crawl through mud to paradise' of startup reality!— Team Saygus (@Saygus) August 11, 2017