For a company that calls itself a phone maker, Turing Robotics Industries (TRI) doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to actually shipping phones. The firm’s first handset, the “ultra-secure” Turing Phone, was repeatedly delayed, and when it did finally reach consumers, came with a different operating system to the one originally advertised (Sailfish instead of Android). That’s perhaps why TRI announced today that it’s partnering with Chinese tech company TCL to make the Turing Phone Appassionato.
TCL is one of the world’s largest phone makers, selling devices under a number of brands including Alcatel and BlackBerry. According to TRI CEO Syl Chao, this expertise — along with “invaluable feedback” gathered from owners of the first Turing Phone — will help TRI improve its mobile offerings in 2017.
As with previous devices announced by TRI, the Appassionato (which was “soft-launched” earlier this year) sounds gratuitously high end. According to TRI’s spec sheet, it’ll be constructed from the metal alloy Liquidmorphium; will feature a diamond-like carbon coating providing a “high-tech ceramic feel”; and will use ultra-strong sapphire glass for its display. That’s the same material that Apple uses for its camera lenses, and that the iPhone maker failed to manufacture in large enough quantities for its own displays.
The Appassionato will also come with a digital assistant and concierge service dubbed “Sir Alan,” which will combine traditional voice controls and on-call human helpers to offer “an intimate yet intelligent experience.” TRI says it aims to ship the phone to customers in September this year, and that the device will come in two variants — the “elite” PX8, costing $1,099; and the “premium-luxury edition” GX8, costing $1,599. It’s not clear at this point what distinguishes the two models.
All this, though, should be taken with a hearty, hearty pinch of salt. Even after the Turing Phone reached consumers, reviewers were not impressed with the device, and TRI doesn’t appear to even sell it anymore. (The company’s website says “the current pre-order period has come to an end.”) And since the Turing Phone launched, the company seems to have been sustaining itself on PR vapors, releasing laughably ambitious plans for future devices that promise customers features like 60-megapixel cameras, 18GB of RAM, triple Snapdragon SoCs, and hydrogen fuel cells for batteries.
The Appassionato looks like a sane device by comparison, but even with the help of TCL, it remains to be seen if Turing can actually ship it as promised.