Saygus, maker of VPhone, looks for $8M in new funding

Saygus, the company behind the VPhone Android phone that shot to prominence in 2009 before fading into the background of the smartphone market, is trying to close a financing round of $8 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing, first unearthed by The Next Web, shows that as of Aug. 16, Saygus had raised $1.3 million in equity out of the total offering amount of $8 million. It is not clear what the company intends to do with the money. A Saygus representative was not immediately available for comment.

The Saygus VPhone launched in 2009 with grand ambitions. It was to be the first two-way video calling phone, powered by Android, and it was to be the first phone to travel through Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) Open Development Initiative.

Saygus in August 2011 confirmed to PCMag.com that it was still in business, that its gadget had passed through Verizon's ODI process, and that it would begin selling its VPhone "soon." However, the company's homepage still says "coming soon to Verizon Wireless" and there is no way to purchase a VPhone or see how much it costs.

Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney said she was not aware of the phone ever being sold. "Once we certify it, we're pretty much out the picture," she told FierceWireless. "They're a third-party company. They market and go about putting out their devices just like any manufacturer."

The VPhone in 2009 boasted an 800 MHz processor, "best in class" slide-out Qwerty keyboard, video calling, Wi-Fi and GPS--all of which would make the device a low-end smartphone today. Moreover, video calling has gone mainstream via Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) FaceTime and other mobile applications like Skype, Tango, Fring, ooVoo, Sidecar and others.

For more:
- see this SEC filing
- see this The Next Web article

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