Despite a successful Indiegogo campaign to bring the world’s first dual-sided E-Ink smartphone to the US, the YotaPhone 2’s stateside release has officially been cancelled. YotaPhone sent out emails to backers this morning letting them know of they wouldn’t be receiving their devices as planned, citing “unforeseen delays” in production, a crux for any smartphone startup.
To make amends, YotaPhone is offering these early backers either an international model — which isn’t compatible with US LTE bands (but HSPA+ will work just fine) — or a full refund. According to YotaPhone, sticking a US-compatible modem in their phone was more difficult than expected. The company — who says claims they were blindsided by the development — placed full blame on their supplier who wasn’t able to meet their commitments.
“This despite spending months finalizing and securing the deal to bring to life the North American variant of YotaPhone 2, and when we launched this campaign we were confident our supplier would be able to follow through with their commitment. This was a shock to everyone at Yota Devices, and our leadership team, including our CEO, met with the manufacturer last week in a last-ditch effort to find a solution but the logistics were insurmountable and the device would simply arrive too late.”
So, why not just email backers about delays and send them the phone later than originally planned (like other crowd funding campaigns often do)? YotaPhone says the delays would have interfered with their 2016 roadmap, which is when they plan to launch a new YotaPhone at a more affordable price than the originals.
Where does YotaPhone go from here? The good news is that they’ve brought on a new manufacturing partner to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again and that they can bring a new YotaPhone — with updated hardware specs — to the US quickly and without any issue. For real this time.