It turns out trying to compete with Apple and Samsung is quite hard for a small company. After six years and six iterations of Geeksphone, the Spanish manufacturer is finally giving up on its smartphone.
In a press release the company said it had reached the end of a cycle and would be leaving the development of its operating system platform in the hands of its users' community. Geeksphone will stop making hardware and open source everything and keep some tech support going for its community of developers. "In short, everything that belongs to Geeksphone belongs to its users," said Geeksphone co-founder Rodrigo Silva-Ramos.
The engineering team will all move to work on parent company Silent Circle's Blackphone. Geeksphone had been a hardware partner for the Blackphone since 2013 before being taken over by Silent Circle in February.
Geeksphone was the first manufacturer to build a Firefox OS mobile device which it launched alongside Telefonica and the Mozilla Corp. The writing has been on the wall for Geeksphone since it announced on it's support forum last month that it was pulling support for Firefox OS.
Though it is ceasing smartphone manufacturing, the company will continue on other projects. Geeksphone partners Ana Gay-Puente and co-founder Javier Agüera will move to Blackphone with the engineering team. Another Geeksphone co-founder María Alzola, is leaving the company. Silva-Ramos and Angel Sánchez Díaz will be focusing on making wearable devices under the geeks!me brand, which is building a smartwatch that that is able to track sexual activity, in additon to the usual offerings of activity tracker and sleep monitoring and an app that measures your impact on the environment and tells you how you can minimize it.
"Mobile telephony has changed a lot in recent years," said Geeksphone co-founder Silva-Ramos. While Geeksphone tried to bring a freshness to the market, it was arguably this uniqueness that made it difficult for the company to compete in a market where people are used to a certain type of phone. "Our perception is that it is now a sector with great actors who have come to be where they are without much concern for innovation and without being concerned by the needs of its users," he added in a swipe at his big corporate competitors.
Geeksphone was the first Spanish company to build a smartphone and the first European company to develop an Android phone. Fellow European smartphone manufacturer Jolla has also had problems competing with large American and Asian corporations. The Finnish outfit recently split into two companies, one focusing on the Linux-based Sailfish OS and the other on hardware.