It’s been as while since I reported on Phantom Entertainment (nee Infinium Labs) and I though I’d check up on them as I haven’t seen the Lapboard reported on it a while. It’s seems they are still alive, though barely. After an initial rush of somewhat positive reviews in the media, the Lapboard seems well received by those it is targeting – online gamers who sit withing 10 ft of the TV. Definitely not a data-entry design, but apparently suitable for the target audience. Personally I’d like to see a few improvements to make it a bit more general purpose – say for those of us who’d use it for HTPC’s and big-screen web-surfing. YMMV. You can check it out yourself here.
Update: It’s always nice to get a response, and I got one from the Phantom CEO, John Landino (see comment below). I’ve edited the article to reflect some corrections he was gracious enough to share with me. The original subtitle was “still barely alive”, but after a year on Amazon they have over a dozen reviews, so being in business 4+ years and getting sold on Amazon amongst other places they are doing better than I thought.
On July 14th the SEC registration of Phantom Entertainment, Inc. was revoked. The company repeatedly failed to file required annual and quarterly reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and thus violated the federal securities laws that requires public corporations to publicly disclose current, accurate financial information. They are still in Port Chester, New York.
Phantom Lapboards are starting to show up in the wild and there’s a review of one at MaximumPC. Generally everybody likes the Lapboard but the mouse seems a little iffy. If you want to try one out they can be ordered online for $129.
Well almost it seems. Phantom Entertainment (formally Infinium Labs), after many many many false starts to ship 1) a game console, 2) a streaming game service and 3) a keyboard/mouse combination called the lapboard, apparently shipped the company’s first product, the Phantom Lapboard. The lapboard features a wireless swiveling keyboard with a shelf under it for a mouse. In fact, if you read the history of Infinium’s tech demos (start here) you’ll find that the lapboard was the only thing that’s a constant, the only things that was apparently real an any of their demos. Now they have apparently been shipping out actual Lapboards (@ $129) to consumers (sorry, currently sold out). So I guess a hearty cheer should be given? Maybe not. Let’s see, where to start.n.
Tim Robert’s starts the whole thing in 2002. Scandals occur. Leaves in 2005 with a boatload of stock. Many scandals follow. Rejoins as Chairman of the Board. Resigns in July 2007, the same time that Infinium gets $1.3 million loan agreement with European Investors LINLEY Management S.A. They double the number of outstanding shares to 2.4 BILLION. In September 2008 the SEC settles the charges with Roberts and as part of the settlement, Roberts agreed to be barred from serving as an officer or director of any public company for five years and, to be barred from participating in any offering of penny stock for five years. In Aug. 2008 a company called Phantom Gaming Service is incorporated in Delaware, with many of the same folks who work at Phantom Entertainment, plus Tim Roberts on board. Three days later, Phantom Entertainment gets $65K and some stock from Phantom Game Service AKA Phantom Streaming AKA StreamServ. 49% of the stock in fact. Phantom Game Service gets “technologies” powering the Phantom Game store – which had 1 (one) successful day before it shut down. Phantom Game Service then sells these technologies to a company called Game Streamer for cash and stock. Game Streamer enters into an agreement with (drum roll) Phantom Entertainment to give them access to all the technology & stuff originally in the Phantom Game Store. Who’s Phantom Game Service? Incorporated in October 2008 by Tim Roberts and friends. You can’t make this shit up. Do the math. He only needs 500 folks to prepay for a Lapboard to break even.
Infinium will supposedly be showing the Phantom Game Service at both the Emerging Technology and New Form Factor areas of NVIDIA’s booth, South Hall #35311, and in the Microsoft Corp. booth in the Central Hall, #7145. Details about the Phantom seem to indicate it’s a Windows XP Embedded system running on an AMD processor with an NVIDIA graphics chipset. Release is scheduled for “sometime” in 2005.
If you’re attending CES you might catch Infinium’s president, Kevin Bachus talking at the “Digital Download” session on Friday at 3pm, room N245 of the North Hall.
Side Note: Infinium, along with two other companies, were mentioned in a fax stock scam that started making the rounds in early December. It helped push Infinium’s stock from 20 cents to 74 cents. With all the CES speculation it’s now trading over a dollar. More here.
In its latest filing with the US S.E.C. Infinium says it’ll have to spend $US 22.2M over the next 12 months in order to execute its “current business strategy”. Basically it says it’ll need $US 11.5M to launch the Phantom Game Service and sell the first 10,000 units. Then another $US 10.7M to “achieve cash flow break even”. Then, as if that weren’t enough, it says it anticipates having to spend another $US 20.2M over the next 16 months for promotion and services.
Tough, since according to the Sept. 30 statement, it has $US 20,991 (yes, 20K) in the bank, leaving it a bit short. The company said it has hired SG Capital to help it raise the funding it requires, and indicated that it was already talking to a number of potential backers. It also plans to discuss a debt-for-equity scheme with its current creditors. But it warned: “If we are unsuccessful in raising capital or we do not launch the Phantom Game Service when currently planned, we will need to curtail our proposed spending.“
Kevin Bachus shared the stage with Sun’s Scott McNealy at the JavaOne Conference in San Francisco to announce the;
“Phantom Gaming Service is slated to go live Thursday, Nov. 18, 2004. The Phantom Game Receiver will ship with the full Java 2 Standard Edition Runtime Environment and supporting game APIs. All Java technology-based games will be able to run on the Phantom out of the box.”
The console will is based on an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ and contains a 40GB hard drive, 256MB of memory TV output and broadband Internet feed. The graphics come courtesy of an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra ship. The box, which clearly amounts to little more than a low-end PC, will retail for $199, Infinium said. The Phantom Game Service costs $29.95 a month, and if you sign up for a 24-month period, you’ll get your Athlon XP box for free.
The first launch was supposed to be in Q1 2003. The second was supposed to be Q1, 2004.