Just months after a major debut during February's Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, Emblaze announced it will discontinue investments in its Else mobile device, and instead attempt to license the gadget's software platform. The news comes as little surprise; the wireless handset marketplace is littered with the remains of ambitious but ultimately failed phone startups, including Sierra Wireless' Voq, Sendo, Tiger Telematics' Gizmondo and Neonode.
"While there was encouraging interest in the device by potential partners, management was not able to confirm a deal on terms acceptable to Emblaze to proceed to the production of the device," Emblaze said in a London Stock Exchange regulatory filing. "Due to critical delays in deliveries and the current status of the project, the board has now decided to cease any further investment towards manufacturing of the First Else mobile device and to concentrate efforts only on licensing the Else Intuition platform and technology in order to realize its potential upside."
The upshot? "This decision will drastically reduce the company's operational and development costs and will positively contribute to its route to profitability," Emblaze said.
Launched in November and highlighted during Mobile World Congress, Else hoped to engage users with a novel smartphone platform--a Linux-based OS developed in conjunction with Japanese software vendor Access that adhered to the LiMo Foundation's specifications--and bill for services via wireless carriers. The company's first device running on the platform--the First, manufactured by Japan's Sharp--was designed for one-handed use, and generally featured smooth navigation and intuitive controls.
Emblaze said it will focus now on its ongoing business efforts, including its Formula Systems IT solution and services subsidiary, its push-messaging Emoze subsidiary and its various patent holdings.
- see this filing with the London Stock Exchange
- see this Engadget article
Else hypes new platform, smartphone to U.S. carriers