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UK smartphone maker Wileyfox goes into administration

by Mark Tyson on 7 February 2018, 20:01

Tags: Wileyfox

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Wileyfox was one of the first companies to build smartphones based upon the Android Cyanogen mobile OS. When Cyanogen mobile OS development ended in December 2016, Wileyfox managed to continue its smartphone development and sales. However, the repercussions felt by the firm as its major backer collapsed in December 2017 (Russian bank Promsvyazbank) were the last straw, according to sources speaking to TechCrunch.

On Monday Wileyfox Europe Limited, a European subsidiary of Wileyfox Group, went into administration. It aims to reduce its cost base in Europe and about 30 people have lost their jobs as a direct result of this action. The statement supplied to TechCrunch assures interested parties that the Wileyfox Group is “committed to working with partners, distributors and customers in Europe to ensure, as far as possible, uninterrupted support and service for Wileyfox mobile handsets in the market, as well as outline the Group’s future plans in this core market”. Acknowledging the vagueness of such an assertion, we are promised further announcements about the restructure and company plans will be delivered "in the near future".

Looking behind the scenes, at Wileyfox’s financials over the last year or two, it is noted that the firm’s most recent set of accounts (April 2017) showed an operating loss of £1.5 million. The Russian bank which backed Wileyfox up until Dec 2017 was bailed out by the Central Bank of Russia with the condition of adhering to rules meaning lending outside of Russia would be limited.

Breaking the news via Reddit yesterday, community manager ‘Wileyfox-Jack’ announced the firm had entered administration. The official Wileyfox statement is vague about sales, support and warranties going forward. However Jack was more candid, saying that he doubted any Wileyfox phone updates would be released from now on and that he couldn’t comment on repairs and warranties.

Wileyfox had a smallish but keen following thanks to its keen pricing of capable modern hardware and timely ‘near stock’ software updates. I tested the Swift 2 Plus about nine months ago and enjoyed using it, the only drawbacks for me were its sharp feeling edges and that I had been spoiled by rival flagship smartphone cameras.



HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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Wow, they had a lot of hype, this seems a shame. Expensive operation to run in the UK though, no doubt, competing with all those Chinese phone vendors.
That's a shame. They seemed to have some decent devices, it's just a pity everything they sold seemed to use entry-level SoCs. The big manufacturers obviously upsell to higher-end devices by using these on their cheaper devices but it's not like Wileyfox had that problem. I know there's more to a phone than it's SoC but a decent mid-range+ SoC would make a lot of phones much easier recommendations IMO - not everyone cares about cameras or QHD screens after all. And from what I read they seemed decent with updates unlike so many other manufacturers.

Precious few devices seem to use the likes of the Snapdragon 650, 660 rather than just a bunch of A53s. Even ARM have tried to argue the case for using a couple of big cores in place of a load of little cores (e.g. 2+4), saving area and improving user experience in the process!
I bought the Wileyfox Storm based on the price/specs.
As a ‘daily driver’ it proved hopeless though, as the battery life was shocking and there were no decent protective cases available.
Had my Wileyfox Swift just over two years now and it's still going strong. For £130ish I have no problem with it being ‘entry/mid-range’ hardware - they got the important things (for me) right. Removable battery (which I still get a couple of days light usage out of), solid build quality and I've already had more bloat-free software updates than I could reasonably have expected.

I certainly would have considered another Wileyfox when I finally need a new phone. Hopefully somebody brings them out of administration but I suspect it would involve a certain amount of ‘restructuring’ and they might not be the same.
watercooled
That's a shame. They seemed to have some decent devices, it's just a pity everything they sold seemed to use entry-level SoCs. The big manufacturers obviously upsell to higher-end devices by using these on their cheaper devices but it's not like Wileyfox had that problem. I know there's more to a phone than it's SoC but a decent mid-range+ SoC would make a lot of phones much easier recommendations IMO - not everyone cares about cameras or QHD screens after all. And from what I read they seemed decent with updates unlike so many other manufacturers.

Precious few devices seem to use the likes of the Snapdragon 650, 660 rather than just a bunch of A53s. Even ARM have tried to argue the case for using a couple of big cores in place of a load of little cores (e.g. 2+4), saving area and improving user experience in the process!

This was always my issue too. I've always viewed a 600 series snapdragon as minimum and as such always skipped Wileyfox phones. Ended up going Moto (lenovo) G5 plus to get a 617? A 400 series chip is just to compromised IMO…