Turing, a company that I'm not even 100% certain really exists in any kind of larger sense, has been the subject of a number of posts on Android Police. That coverage began to crescendo last year, before sharply falling off with the announcement that the phone wouldn't meet its year-end 2015 ship date, but would be delayed until the end of Q1 2016. The end of Q1 2016 came and went. And now the end of Q2 2016 is upon us. So what happened?
Well, about a month ago, Turing again claimed the phone would ship - this time at the end of June. They dropped Android for Sailfish OS, moved operations to Salo, Finland (allegedly), and were generally doing all the things that would have made anyone with an ounce of common sense say "something seems fishy here - and it's not the kalakukko."
Out of the blue, Turing emailed all of its backers today to let them know the phone will now ship on July 12th. Really. They also released a video showing the phone operational and running what looks to be a bone-stock Sailfish OS 2.0. You can see that video here.
Likely, the person behind it is a backer who received early hands-on time in exchange for production of this video, as this YouTube channel has exactly zero technology background or, really, anything to do with anything. It's just some guy. Which is fine - it's just a bit of an odd way to announce and demo your smartphone's big OS change. But whatever, we can see the Turing Phone ("dark wyvern" edition) running what appears to be Sailfish OS, with the obligatory "see? Angry Birds works, it does gaming" demo.
Exactly none of the Turing Phone's alleged security benefits or specialized features are demonstrated. It looks like it's just a basic Sailfish phone in a pretty case. Which isn't exactly what customers who paid upward of $600 for their devices were likely expecting.
But it's in Turing's email to backers where things get... interesting. The email says that pre-order customers will be receiving their devices soon, with shipments starting on July 12th. Turing then goes on to say that these are "evaluation units," which to me reads like marketing-speak for "basically prototypes." Turing says that the Snapdragon 801-powered eval units are just a temporary thing, though, and that a new version of the Turing Phone with a Snapdragon 820 SoC will be shipped to customers free of charge by the end of 2016.
The first batch of Turing Phone(s) will be shipped as Evaluation Unit(s)" as we wish to upgrade you to the Snapdragon 820 Edition (free of charge) before the end of 2016. Turing Phone shipments will start onJuly 12th and continue until all units have been shipped. After your package has been dispatched we will send you an email with full tracking details for your reference.
We value your feedback, so kindly email us your comments & suggestions once you have your Turing Phone. Note: This free upgrade offer is valid only for those who have pre-ordered the Turing Phone in 2015.
Some of you have already decided to purchase other phones and hence asked for a refund. We have a "no questions asked" unconditional refund policy prior to shipment.
If you still wish to be issued a refund please contact our Customer Support at [email protected]. Normally, refunds are processed within 24 hours but please expect 10-15 working days for the money to appear in your account.
Please bear with us while we continue to grow into a sizable company to tackle some of the most difficult and pressing tech challenges of our time.
So, a smartphone startup that measures its pre-order customer base in the thousands is sending a stock of kind-of-finished beta product to those customers, allegedly, and in exchange for their loyalty (and that of their credit card authorizations), is promising to upgrade them to the "good" version of the phone later in the year. For free. That sounds perfectly believable. But not really. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens - the Turing Phone saga has been nothing if not entertaining.