Debt-Ridden UK Phone Startup Wileyfox Enters Administration

WileyFox Storm AH 36

British smartphone manufacturer Wileyfox has entered administration, faced with heavy debts. The UK company rose to prominence back in 2015 with the launch of its first two devices, the Wileyfox Swift and Storm, both of which were received positively by handset enthusiasts. Despite this initial feedback, the company’s subsequent releases weren’t received with as much fanfare. Wileyfox has officially entered administration in the hope of paying off its debts and it remains to be seen how long the procedure will take.

As confirmed by the company’s community manager, Andrew Andronikou and Andrew Hosking have been appointed joint administrators of the company. For now, the future of Wileyfox isn’t looking bright but the firm has yet to officially shut down. If the administrators fail to find any investment, though, that would likely mark the definitive end for the brand, something the community manager appears to hint at. After all, he mentions that the chances of the company being restructured or bought out by another entity are unlikely, possibly due to the lack of brand recognition. Furthermore, he also confirmed that no future Android updates will be pushed out to Wileyfox smartphones, while what happens with any warranty claims will ultimately be up to the administrators. Not only this, but repair requests could also be rejected, and the status of current repairs will also have to be confirmed by those now in charge of Wileyfox. Since the brand’s launch, the company introduced a total of eight devices, including the Wileyfox Spark, Spark Plus, Spark X, Storm, Swift, Swift 2, Swift 2 Plus, and the Swift 2 X, with the latter launching in November 2016.

Initial devices shipped with Android-based CyanogenOS but after the operating system’s demise, Wileyfox opted to develop its own ROM, something that likely proved costly. In a later effort to increase sales, the company also offered devices with lock screen ads in exchange for a reduced price tag, while support for Amazon Alexa was also introduced. But despite these efforts, it appears the firm failed to hit its sales targets and is now close to insolvency. It remains to be seen if the administrators can find a way that would allow the company to continue operating and what their near-term plans are.