Geeksphone is not a smartphone brand that you’re likely to have heard let alone interacted with its devices over the six years that it has existed. A European brand, Geeksphone set out to do what others like Finland’s Jolla are doing today: take on the established smartphone brands. Unlike the latter that has its own Sailfish OS, Geeksphone did not pre-load its own software on its smartphones. With a multi-platform approach, it turned to the tried and tested Android for validation and newcomer Firefox OS for grace. Even with those and a not-so-bad lineup of devices, it wasn’t enough yet to keep it from going under.
It is a sad day to bid farewell to a company and brand of many firsts as Geeksphone announced earlier today that it is exiting the smartphone business. Over its short lifetime, Geeksphone boasted of milestones like being “the first European company to launch an Android-based phone” and “the first global brand to launch a Firefox OS mobile device” in conjunction with Spanish carrier Telefónica and the Mozilla Foundation. We even reviewed one of its Firefox OS smartphones here two years ago. [Read: Preview: Eyes on with Firefox OS powered GeeksPhone]
Citing turbulence in the industry, GeeksPhone is ceasing all operations and there won’t be any hardware products forthwith. It is also making public under an open source license all of its code that it is able to do so without complicated legal obligations. All of the company’s engineering staff have been absorbed by another company, Silent Circle. Silent Circle is the company behind one of the devices touted to be very secure on the planet, the Blackphone. It had earlier on partnered with Geeksphone to produce the Blackphone.
Geeksphone’s exit from the smartphone market is testament of the tough competition in that particular space and the struggles that new small players have to undergo before they can start challenging the big boys. Microsoft has been struggling with the smartphone business it acquired from Nokia and had to write it off just the other day. Jolla is becoming more specific with its targeting shifting focus from a entire planet to BRIC nations and even splitting itself to better concentrate on both hardware and software. Firefox has had to go back to the drawing board after its first round of Firefox OS-powered smartphones failed to gain any traction. Noted Android heavyweights like Samsung are feeling the effects of a saturated market while others like HTC are staring at death in the face. Tough times!