Sad to hear that.
Survival of the fittest, and all that.
But it means more mediocre android landfill, and less proper phones.
Gots lots of good, proper droids in my pocketses.
UK budget smartphone maker Wileyfox has called in the administrative receiver Quantuma, The Register can confirm. The administrator was appointed late on Monday and spent yesterday at Wileyfox's premises. Quantuma told us it had reduced Wileyfox's costs to the "bare minimum", which involved laying off 20 staff, and was …
But it means more mediocre android landfill, and less proper phones.
The improvement in low cost phones over the last couple of years is quite remarkable, so I wouldn't be too sad, nor would I regard these as landfill. I spent a whopping GBP 160 on my last handset after years of running successive Samsung S2, S3, S4 and S5s on the household fleet. The only compromise I've had to make is a camera not as good as the current top end Samsung offerings, the other hand I've got a better battery life than ***any*** Samsung smartphone. Playing honest broker, my display is lower res than current top end phones, but since I can't see the difference on a 5.5" display between QHD and full HD, I'm not worried. Even the maker's skin and customisation is so good that other than Nova Launcher I've stuck with the default.
Investigating the better offerings of the Chinese makers not actively promoting in your region may offer some very pleasant surprises. I suspect that these phones are why Wileyfox didn't achieve the sales they wanted.
I spent a whopping GBP 160 on my last handset after years of running successive Samsung S2, S3, S4 and S5s on the household fleet.
And I'm onto my second, second-hand S5 that cost me all of € 140. I have two spare batteries and a spare phone (single crack on the display) if push comes to shove.
If people want to spend € 800 on a new phone then they're more than welcome, I'm happy with their crumbs though I am looking forward to the Gemini if it ever arrives as the keyboard is a real USP.
I recently bought a Blackview Chinese special from Amazon in the Black Friday sales. It cost the princely sum of just over £43 new.
It's not a premium smart phone, but the screen res. is the same as the mid-range HTC it replaced. It's only 3G and does not have NFC, but I found that I was not using the NFC and 3G is quite fast enough for the limited amount of mobile browsing I do,
It's got the same Flash and RAM, and Android 7 appears to do a much better job of managing the available memory than previous releases. The battery is removable and large at 2800mAh, and easily lasts more than two days the way I use it. It has a microSD slot as well as the SIM slots.
Also, the call and audio quality is much better than the HTC.
But the main reason I bought it was that I had been carrying around two phones because of coverage problems (the other a Nexus 4 running Ubuntu Touch - which worked really well), and this Blackview is a dual-SIM phone that means I only have to carry one.
All in all, it's a perfectly good phone for almost nothing. The only thing I still intend to check is whether there is any traffic from baked-in apps on the phone, but I've not noticed anything yet.
> I can vouch for Lenovo/Moto being the same... good enought for me.
Not my experience - My Moto G5 has not received any updates at all, apparently being on the January 2017 security patch level means my phone is up to date. Shame, because otherwise it is a very nice phone. Twin SIM and SD card, 3GB RAM, octa core CPU.
No so much if you picked one of their less popular models, like my total flop of a G5, very sporadic updates, never moved to 7.1.1 let alone 8.
This unit as well the (always was doomed) naff "friends" modules has a number nasty glitches which as far as I can tell are pretty common, getting warm for no apparent reason, epic battery drain with no clear culprit.
Buying a "flagship" doesn't always get you what it should I'm seriously wondering about something like the Honor 9 Lite
My first Android was an HTC. Apart from one carrier update that was it. Then I had a Samsung. 6 months and the updates stopped. Got another Samsung and this time it was around a year and then it was carrier updates only.
I know that this is not totally represntative but that's my experience. Moved to recon'd iPhones. My iPhone 6 is still getting full OS updates and not had any battery issues. (don't speak too soon eh?)
Until Google puts their foot down OS updates on Android will still be hit and miss. They have the stance taken by Apple to work towards and they should. The whole phone market will be a better place if they did get tough. Less for Apple Fanbois to crow about for one thing.
> Nokia are pretty good, but my Nokia 6 is still on the December's security patch.
> They're generally about 2-3 months behind. Better than most though.
My Nokia 8 has Android version 8.0.0 and Security Patch level 1 January 2018. It is always up to date. The interesting thing is that the low end £79 Nokia 3 is also kept up to date also and also runs Oreo. This proves that other manufacturer's claims that old phones are too low spec to run Oreo are untrue.
"...time to start looking around for a good value, regularly updated, replacement..."
Good luck with that. Motorola seem to be the last man standing here with the Moto E4 (4th Gen) at least. The only other options are Chinese grey imports with dubious security, poor pedigree and non-official support.
With the passing of Wileyfox Android has just become another iDevice* option i.e. overpriced & of little real-world value.
"Nothing to do with their cashflow being frozen or them not selling the number of phones they expected to in the face of increased competition.
No, it was Brexit, obviously."
Well if Brexit caused the price of memory to increase by 25% alone, reducing the profit on each handset built and sold, it would have a fairly big impact on an already beleaguered company. Wouldn't it?
Which ignores that everybody else had the same inflationary pressure, Wileyfox having an advantage of some of their costs not rising with the exchange rate, given that they are based in the UK.
The temporary currency blip may have hurt them, it may even have tipped them over the edge, but to pretend it was the main (or only) cause is it ignore the article and shout "OMG BREXIT" in the comments.
Something which became tedious before the first of July 2016.
Which ignores that everybody else had the same inflationary pressure
Not really, Wileyfox was based in the UK giving it less opportunity to hedge.
It is, however, an admittedly feeble excuse given that pound / dollar exchange rate (the relevant one for imports from the Far East) has largely recovered. I suspect the demise of Cyanogen for the OS and low volumes of a low margin product made the business unsustainable.
"Something which became tedious before the first of July 2016".
To the contrary, the only thing round here that is really tedious is Brexit supporters and their denial of reality and their denial that Brexit, especially the hard version, will do significant and long term damage to the British economy.
Nothing to do with their cashflow being frozen or them not selling the number of phones they expected to in the face of increased competition.
Not forgetting their shit customer service and priority on posting to social media rather than doing what they should be doing.
This does not come as a surprise.
Instead now they can have a banner "Screwed by Brexit. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here"
Sanctions and Information Security actually.
Russian central bank had to jack up twice the capitalisation requirements for most banks. In addition to that, banks are in the same category as peering points, Internet infra, etc. Legal requirements for information security. That, once again, has been pushed to the front by the escalation of information warfare between us and them.
It failed the capitalisation and it had information security issues which their CEO blamed on an "information security attack" by the industry regulator. The last is a bit sort-a laughable as per the last set of national infrastructure protection laws they voted in 2016, their central bank regulator is entitled to verify that its subjects cannot be subverted by an information attack. They are authorized all the way - including doing it for real. If they really did that by doing a pen test which the bank failed, I can only applaud that. I wish we had the same reqs. They are needed in this day and age.
Tragic. I'm still using my original Swift. It's been a brilliant phone.
Has anyone got any recommendations for similar handsets i.e. a solid Android phone with regular software updates for those who don't need a penis extension with super high definition video and a gazillion megapixel camera?
I can't remember when it was... but a few of us at work went for them. Our security patches were... patchy... and Wileyfox were relatively quiet when directly queried... so eventually I gave up and went back to the Jolla when Cyanogen closed the doors, because I didn't want to switch to the Android alternative... because that's why I went Jolla and Wileyfox in the first place.
It was a toss up between the Moto 4 and my Swift 2, which obviously own out. Really impressed apart from poor CS, which to be honest I can live with, as I could the supposedly compromised performance and screen. Pound for pound far better than previous Samsungs. and certainly not landfill Androids.
I hope I can eek another year or so out of it now, but I am sorry it didn't work out. I can't think of what I would replace it with if I happened to smash it today, in fact I'd be tempted to keep an eye out for fire sale stock.
That's a great shame, it was good to have a 4G phone with a removable battery, FM radio, 3.5mm socket and two SIMs, all at a very competitive price. Waste a grand on an iPhone X and you'd get none of those basics.
I wonder whether any Swift updates and replacement batteries will now be available?
I wonder whether any Swift updates and replacement batteries will now be available?
The batteries are without doubt an OEM part, rather than custom made for the Swift alone, so a bit of searching should turn up plenty of sources for the next few years. A twenty second Google suggests the Swift may have the same battery as the Ulefone U0008 (who probably made the Swift in the first place?).
I have the Wileyfox Storm, and have been very happy with it over the last 2yrs, and I see no reason to get rid of it anytime soon. I was a little concerned after COS was dissolved, but they released an update to a new OS to sort out that issue, and security updates every few months, with the last one being Jan 2018.
My only downside with the phone is that the camera isn't great and can struggle to focus... But that's why I have a digital bridge camera... to take proper shots rather than crappy snaps with a phone camera... and no matter what any manufacturer says... all phone cameras take inferior shots when compared to any reasonable camera. They're about on par with the low end digital compact market... and we're talking cameras that cost £40-60, but phones still can't compete with optical zooms.
But the one thing I loved about the Storm, in fact the whole brand... was the extra layer of security & privacy features built in. Things that stock android simply cannot or will not do. Because of that I was going to replace my Storm with another Wileyfox next year... I guess my search for a decent replacement has to start over again.
RIP Wileyfox, you showed us what can be achieved and I am sad that you didn't penetrate the market better... I keep telling people about your phones... But you can't compete with the dumb brand mentality of some people. I spent ages convincing a family friend that a swift 2 was her best value for money option as her old Note 3 was failing... She took it all on board and then went out and bought a shitty £99 samsung POS because it was cheap, and that means VFM to her stupid mind. You can't fix stupid.
So that would explain why the batteries suddenly went out of stock just a few days after getting the email to say they were available again. Not so much no stock but no shop...
I have an original Swift and it does everything I need and more. I guess I'll keep it untill the next big android security scare and then maybe risk LineageOS. Their support was not much use though, but then I don't know of anyone else who's better.
Not surprising in the end, as support and new product were clearly drying up for some time (my wife's Swift 2 Plus is currently away for repair - I guess we can bid it adieu) but I loved WF whilst it lasted.
Just replaced my Storm last week (with a Xiaomi A1 - nice) as the battery life became tragic after the Nougat update but I will miss the form factor and build quality, if not the slow camera and woeful compass. £200 for two years of decent phone was a bargain in my book though.
I totally love my old-stylee WileyFox Swift. It's pretty much note-perfect in terms of features, and price point.
Their customer service on the other hand ... it would give too positive an impression to use the words woefully inadequate.
If history has taught us anything, it's that attention to detail trumps technical prowess. Ask Sony how Betamax worked out for them .....
I really, really wanted them to do well.
On a more pragmatic note, where can I find a dual-SIM quad-core phone with a 5.5" display that can take an SD card, and has a removable battery and (the only 2 features missing on my Swift) a fingerprint sensor and NFC capability for less than £150 ? (Seeing as my WF Swift was £129 in 2015)
"On a more pragmatic note, where can I find a dual-SIM quad-core phone with a 5.5" display that can take an SD card, and has a removable battery and (the only 2 features missing on my Swift) a fingerprint sensor and NFC capability for less than £150 ? (Seeing as my WF Swift was £129 in 2015)"
This might suit you:-
Presumably there will be no more updates unless someone waves a magic wand and takes over.
Apologies for asking silly questions, but what are the options for Swift owners? Can it be updated from another source, or switched to a different operating system?
Or is it equivalent to running a laptop with Vista on it, usable but potentially increasingly dangerous, and good only as long as the battery lasts?
"Apologies for asking silly questions, but what are the options for Swift owners? Can it be updated from another source, or switched to a different operating system?"
There are official LineageOS ROMs for the Swift - https://download.lineageos.org/crackling - and Storm - https://download.lineageos.org/kipper .
There are other ROMs for the Swift 2 at xda-developers: https://forum.xda-developers.com/swift-2/development (Swift 2, has an unofficial LOS 14.1 ROM last updated in September)
xda-developers device-specific forums should also have instructions on bootloader unlocking (if they didn't ship unlocked, I don't know), recovery install and ROM flashing, it's not that hard but make sure to follow the instructions carefully if you've never done it before (or even if you have!)
Dunno about any other models.
I'd argue the Swift2 was probably one of the best phones around today off the shelf. The (mostly) no crapware policy was a welcome change to any of the alternatives. The price point was excellent too.
Honestly can't think of any plus points for the otherwise overkill $800 handsets that have become dominant. I'd take an old Nokia 6150 or similar in preference to a phone more expensive than my PC!
waitaminute, what is this administrator bloke on about?
"...in terms of distributing monies outside of Russia, that tap was proverbially turned off."
I mean...that's a very odd placement of "proverbially", there. The turning off is proverbial, fine, but the tap isn't? Is he telling us there's an actual physical Russian money tap somewhere - and one which has only *proverbially* been turned off? Inquiring minds want to know!
After reading a glowing review here, I bought a WileyFox phone.
They took my money, claimed they tried to deliver the device (which was specifically advertised as being packaged to fit a letterbox), claimed it back of the distributor before I could get to the warehouse, then completely failed to respond to repeated requests for either the phone or a refund. Fuck 'em.
I had the Wilefox for a grand total of 5 days. From the little of it I used, I was pretty impressed. It was snappy, fully featured and looked great. However, it wouldn't charge. Once the battery died, it became a brick. Wouldn't charge, wouldn't reset, wouldn't turn on. I've had issues with hardware before (although this seemed pretty common), and it happens, no big deal.
I got in contact with Wilefox by email (which is the only way to contact them); and heard nothing. Nothing at all. Emailed them again: nothing. And again: nothing. Emailed them asking if I could send it back for a refund: nothing. Sent the phone back to Amazon who refunded it. The Amazon review are pretty much entirely a cut and paste copy of my experience with them.
Probably a decent phone (although, honestly, not better than a lot of lower end phones - I have a moto G5 plus, which was slightly cheaper than the Wileyfox and is a lot better), but an absolutely terrible company.
I had this same issue. The Swift 2 doesn't charge from flat, from a USB socket. Needs a mains to USB adapter with a bit more kick. Agree though, the support elements are (were?) dreadful. Mate of mine sent a phone back to get the screen replaced. The only record of the RMA were held on Twitter ffs!
However at 50 quid a phone I am largely of the opinion they were expendable devices, not worth the hassle of repairing even.
I was very happy with my Spark Plus, a simple phone that did very thing I wanted. The main thing it was lacking was volume. Until it was updated, never has run as well with the full Google interference, even though I turned off as much as I found. Would have been nice if they warned it the 'update' was to full android.
I've looked into reverting to Cyanogen or later, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through.
The main appeal to me was that it wasn't a full Android phone, I think they lost their point when Cyanogen ended.
Good intentions, bad execution.
Im just about to exit this phone.
1)their choice off gorilla glass was great but then cutting a hole in it and leaving the burred edge exposed was ultimately going to result in a cracked screen. 3 days into ownership.
2)making the battery removable but not selling a replacement battery......What can I say!!!
3)Made worse by the fact only special deep usb connector would stay in securely. Many a late wakeup has been the result, and dieing 5 minutes before a motorway junction as the usb connector had come free was my last issue(1 hr late into a new office)
4)changing the boot screen from black to white, meaning i now needed 5% charge before I could turn on the phone as the boot process drained so much power it powered straight off again.
Wileyfox has a new owner and it is business as usual. Despite contacting the news desk there has been no mention of this on The Register but you can find out more on https://www.techradar.com/news/wileyfox-relaunches-with-cheap-phone-deals-including-a-free-amazon-echo-dot
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