British Android smartphone maker Wileyfox might be in quite a bit of trouble if the reports making rounds are true. Turns out Wileyfox, which was started 3 years ago, has been facing some financial headwinds lately and things are not looking up for the London-based Android smartphone brand.
A former Wileyfox employee, who it appears was let go thanks to the company’s troubles, spilled the beans on Reddit writing, “Wileyfox Europe Limited is in Administration. Andrew Andronikou and Andrew Hosking are appointed joint administrators and act jointly and severely without personal liability.“
The company is yet to confirm these reports.
As per my little understanding of business matters (correct me if I am wrong), the insolvency reports mean that Wileyfox hasn’t been making enough money to help it stay afloat (pay bills and stuff) and as such outsiders (of course with the requisite expertise) have been brought in to help turn things around. Should that fail, the company will then have to fold.
That is quite depressing to hear for those of us who have had a chance to interact with Wileyfox devices over the years. Not only did Wileyfox gain a lot of goodwill by shipping its first generation devices with a version of Android that was closer to Google’s vision for the platform than anything else in the market back then, it also scored a few extra points with Android enthusiasts by issuing updates to its devices. Along the way, it suffered some setbacks when the company it had partnered with to provide the near-stock Android software, Cyanogen Inc, folded operations and Wileyfox had to take up software operations in-house and shift to Lineage OS, something that likely strained and burdened their operations and, probably, their already shaky relationship with demanding customers. Still, all seemed just fine as we had new device releases as late as December 2017 when Wileyfox announced some new products.
At some point in 2015, Wileyfox even toyed around with the idea of releasing its smartphones in the Kenyan market. Given the volatility of the local market and the fact that we never heard of them after their pilot exercise in Nairobi, it is safe to assume that they ruled out that possibility immediately.
News of Wileyfox’s woes come at a time when yet another Android device maker (at least they were for some time before they ditched the platform), Turing Robotics, has filed for bankruptcy.
Last year, LeEco, the ambitious Chinese Android phone brand, had to scale down operations worldwide and stop its aggressive expansion as it became cash-strapped. The year before, it had been the turn of another popular Chinese device maker, Xiaomi, which was forced to go slow on its international expansion (that saw the company’s efforts in Kenya and other African markets take a back seat). It is only recently that it has bounced back. This smartphone business is not for the faint-hearted, it turns out.