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Pre-order your early-bird pre-sale product today! (Oh did we mention the shipping date has slipped AGAIN?)

Or just wait and buy it when it's ready

By Alistair Dabbs, 28 Jul 2017

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Good Afternoon, Alistair Dabbs. Do you still write in the direction of Hi-Tech, didn't you? Perhaps you will find fascinating the following information.

Yes, I still write in that direction. I am hoped to it finding fascinate.

It's easy to mock. If the roles were reversed, who knows what kind of mangled Mandarin I'd be mewling through Google Translate? Besides, fascinate it did: the outfit contacting me – PGS LAB – has created what it variously refers to as "the world's first gaming smartphone for PC games" and, somewhat immodestly, "the most advanced portable device in the world".

Except it hasn't.

According to the company blog, PGS LAB fell victim to what it calls "scammers" – that is, a dodgy third-party tech team which ultimately failed to deliver. As a result, it says, product development has been delayed by months and shipping of the pre-ordered units will have to be put back further.

While I appreciate the appearance of trying to be candid with customers who got so excited about the prospect of playing PC games on a smartphone for the first time ever (I'm not sure that's true but let it pass for now) that they paid several hundred dollars in advance, it makes toe-curling reading. If I were PGS LAB, I would not want my out-of-pocket international customers to be mulling over the implications of sending good money abroad to a supplier on blind trust and getting bugger-all except excuses in return.

If I understand the blog post, the smartphone in question doesn't even exist yet. Sure, there's a 3D hardware schematic, some bright ideas of how the interface might be implemented and lots of mocked up screenshots, but not so much as a manufacturing sample.

That's a long way from the claim on the product website: "PC GAMES ON PORTABLE DEVICES – NOW IT'S REAL!"

Yeah? We'll see.

Let's be charitable. Perhaps they just expressed themselves badly in English. Perhaps it's just the language barrier at play.

After all, crowdfunding sites are full of unintentionally amusing descriptions of perfectly rational products. Such as PaperSoil.

To you and me, "paper soil" is inevitable if your home lacks a bidet but such scatological references sail right over these guys' heads.

PaperSoil is a clump of recycled paper pellets that you pour into a jar, to which you add flower seeds and water in order to "grow a mini, colourful lushy garden".

Ooh lushy.

Doing this is eco-friendly, we're told. Apparently, replacing nasty old real soil from the grubby earth (which is free) with highly processed bits of brightly coloured paper mailed to you at a certain expense from the other side of the world will be "contributing to the protection of the environment… in an entertaining way".

Even the pre-emptive excuse for potential delays in shipping are as chewy as a PaperSoil pellet: "Those are normally controllable, just may be a bit of late."

Marketing such junk to anyone over the age of 6 must be tricky enough in your own language let alone someone else's, so I give them credit for trying. But in an ideal world, someone really should get around to developing – or is that breeding? – the fabled Babel Fish.

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Don't look now but someone just has. Or at least they say they have. Have a peek at Pilot, the cordless "translating earpiece".

According to the bumf, noise-cancelling mics on the outside listen to what is being said to you in a foreign language and channel the audio over Bluetooth to a smartphone app. This app interprets it straight away and sends the translation audio in your own language back to your Pilot earpiece in almost real time.

At last, we can all experience the full glory of Vogon poetry.

The Pilot seems too good to be true, assuming you don't mind having what look like plastic boxing gloves hanging out your ears, but Waverley Labs are promising to ship this autumn.

I note, however, that while the site features plenty of photos of the Pilot earpieces and plenty of photos of people's ears, there are no photos of the earpieces in people's ears.

I also observe a growing trend for hardware products that are being sold before they exist. Whether the developers choose to self-promote via crowdfunding or directly from their own websites, the one approach they all take is pre-orders.

A cynic might even suggest that the public is too easily impressed by bold claims and well-rendered 3D models that look like photos but aren't.

Take e-readers, for example: each time a new range goes on pre-order, millions of people get sucked in by mock-up images promising a "paperwhite" display only to discover, upon opening the box and switching the device on, that the display is about as white as a pewter tankard.

If that's the case, I intend getting in on the act.

Bugger Beardie and Musky boy, I have already developed a commercial rocket that'll take you to the Moon. Not convinced? Just take a look at my highly realistic product photo!

Dabbsy on the Moon

Irresistible, I'm sure you'll agree. After the pre-early-bird sale rate of $499 (one way), the price increases to $4.99m, so get your credit cards out now!

Be warned that due to unforeseen circumstances (thank you for the tip, Justin), there will be a slight delay to the projected shipping date of 4th quarter 2017, although how long a delay I'm not going to tell you. But every pre-sale customer gets a 10 per cent discount on our forthcoming trip to Mars. Bargain!

Dabbsy on Mars

Your credit card payment will be safe in case of any unforeseen circumstances, such as the one given above. We promise to launder process each transaction transparently from your source currency via Bitcoin, Ethereum, Linoleum and Perineum before we vanish entirely in a puff of blockchain.

You may also wish to visit our other websites to pre-order our latest flying car, purchase refill tubs of our (fully guaranteed!) diet pills or put a mortgage down on a ranch of unicorns.

I trust you will founded fascinating the anticipate information.

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Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling tech journalism, training and digital publishing. He wishes to make clear that he casts no aspersions on the companies or their products mentioned in this week's column. Fogeyish though it may be, he just wants to play by the traditional rules of commercial engagement and hand over his cash for stuff after it has come into existence.

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