Emblaze Mobile’s first Else Intuition vaporware on the way become Gizmondo #2
Yesterday I heard about quite an interesting product being launched.
It seems that we have a new super duper Linux based smartphone OS and device coming up soon, from a little known Israeli company Emblaze Mobile and Japanese software company Access.
The new handset, “First Else”, running a new Linux based “Else Intuition” OS, is a new category of mobile device, that actually becomes an application (?) and is able to match the functionality of standalone off-the-shelf dedicated devices, such as digital cameras, top-ranked MP3 players, best-in-class GPS devices, and more, while maintaining an exceptional ease and simplicity of use.
Picture credit – Impress
While describing First Else device, CEO of Emblaze Mobile, Amir Kupervas was downright poetic:
Imagine a device that is not a phone surrounded by gimmicks you will not use; where the camera literally replaces your digital camera; you get real-time push email wherever you are on the globe; almost every song and film in the world is one click away; and any one of its multitude of features is reached with no more than one light gesture of your finger and not buried deep inside folders within folders. If you imagine this, you imagine the first ELSE™ and the capabilities created with ELSE INTUITION™
Well, Apple, Palm, RIM, Google and Nokia, please step aside. It seems that we have a new gadget in town. And it sounds so much better then the crap you produce, there’s no point for you to continue.
Except for one smallish thing. Who the heck is Emblaze Mobile, and how were they able to make such a revolutionary device, without anyone getting a clue?
Well, actually, we have already heard about a new revolutionary Access Linux based handset from Emblaze, called Edelweiss. It was a year ago, when they were ready to revolutionize mobile industry and take over the mobile market, first in Russia, then the rest of the world. Unfortunately, except for the prototypes demoed at launch in Russia, I have not heard about a single Edelweiss device ever to ship.
And they’ve already been hard at work on the second revolutionary handset, called Monolith then. Well, I guess the Monolith is here, and it now has become First Else. Unfortunately, if the fate of Edelweiss is any indication, the probability of us seeing anything beyond a few prototypes, is pretty close to zero.
Then there’s Emblaze Group itself. They claim that they are very well known hi-tech company in Israel. And that is an absolute truth. The thing they do not tell us, is how they are known there. And Emblaze Group in Israel is hardly a pillar of high tech business community in Israel. Actually, judging from these articles in Israeli and British press, Emblaze and it’s founder Eli Reifman, seems to be a rather shady figures.
According to those reports, Emblaze has raised anywhere between 400 and 700 million US$ at the height of dotcom boom, blew through something like 200 mil. since, bought a bunch of other companies, never made a profit, and has been doing some stuff in mobile and tech industry.
Their subsidiary, Emblaze Mobile, responsible for the creation of Edelweiss and First Else, has been around since 1998, doing some stuff in mobile industry too. Among the accomplishments of Emblaze mobile are:
- development of first ever mobile video/audio application processor and graphics accelerator
- launch of the world’s first ever video phone for Samsung
- selling of advanced telecom infrastructure for mobile media delivery to operators in over 50 countries worldwide
- acquisition of a Korean OEM with vast experience in mobile development, manufacturing and distribution in far eastern markets
- leadership of large scale projects that included delivering far-east OEM products to Europe’s leading operators according to their specifications. Clients included top tier brands such as Virgin Mobile, Dixons, O2 and more (?!)
- mobile handset distribution network and trading business in Europe
- worked with top tier operators such as Vodafone, Orange, 3, O2 and many others
If it sounds a bit vague, it’s because it is. And hardly a profile of a company set to take over Apple, Google and Nokia to revolutionize mobile industry.
To me this all sounds eerily familiar, like something on the way to become Gizmondo #2. The similarities between the story of Gizmondo and this Edelweiss/Else stuff are really interesting:
- a supposedly revolutionary product, set to take over a very hot industry, years in the making, but never progressing far beyond a few prototypes
- hundreds of millions in investor money, collected in private placements in London
- a shady founder, playing fast and loose with shareholder and borrowed money, eventually ending up in jail
Well, I might be wrong on all this. And first Else with Else Intuition might indeed turn out to be the products they are hyped to be. But for some reason, I feel that it is much more likely to end up in a scrap heap of overhyped high tech wannabees.