Mobile World Congress this past February included the unveiling of several notable smartphones like the Nokia 9 PureView and LG G8. However, one device got an inordinate amount of attention — the Energizer Power Max P18K Pop. Hiding behind that clunky name was a phone with a gigantic 18,000 mAh battery. This brick of a phone ended up on Indiegogo, and despite all the hype, it flopped. Hard. Of the anticipated $1.2 million, the phone only pulled in pre-orders worth $15,005 — just 1 percent of the required funding.
The Energizer Power Max P18K Pop is not actually a product of the battery manufacturer. The Energizer name is merely licensed by Avenir Telecom, a French manufacturer of phones, cables, and other accessories. It has produced other Energizer phones in the past, but none of them sparked the same combination of fascination and amusement.
The phone looked like a large aluminum power bank with a 6.2-inch screen on one side. The phone had almost no front-facing bezels thanks to the inclusion of a pop-up selfie camera. The phone parts of the device were competent if not particularly exciting. The P18K was supposed to have a MediaTek Helio P70, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and Android 9 Pie.
Avenir claimed the 18,000mAh battery could deliver two solid days of video playback or 100 hours of music. This is a totally different level of smartphone longevity compared with devices like the Galaxy S10+ with a 4,100mAh battery and the iPhone XS Max with its 3,174mAh cell. If you don’t need your phone to last that long, you can also use the USB Type-C port to supply other devices with juice.
The company talked up all the blog posts covering the announcement, as well as all the YouTube views it got. However, that didn’t translate into people willing to drop $550 or more on the phone. Avenir Telecom only secured seven early bird orders for a single phone at $550 (regular price $700) and three orders for a trio of phones at $1,587.
The campaign was a fixed goal, so it ended without charging any backers. Some companies use Indiegogo less as a way to get funding and more as a way to handle pre-orders. However, Avenir Telecom did have a rather long lead time before the promised October shipping date. It’s unclear if it will go through with producing the phone without guaranteed buyers.