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YotaPhone 2 U.S. launch cancelled, refunds promised

by Jacob Kleinman | July 31, 2015July 31, 2015 2:00 pm PDT

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Dear Indiegogo backer,

It’s with a very heavy heart that I have to share the news that we are cancelling our launch of YotaPhone 2 in North America. This has been a difficult decision for us as a company, and we’d like to offer our sincerest apologies to the many people who have supported us.

What Happened:

The reason for our cancelled launch is due to unforeseen delays including both production and delivery of the North American variant of YotaPhone 2 from our manufacturer. 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. In turn, we believe that the likelihood of a severe delay in these shipments would have created a conflict with our international road map for 2016, leaving Indiegogo supporters behind when customers in other regions will be offered a newer, cheaper and better YotaPhone.

What Happens Now:

As a result of this situation, we have two proposed options for our loyal Indiegogo YotaPhone backers.

1. For those who are avid fans of our hardware and innovation, we offer you the option to receive an International version of YotaPhone 2 (YD201) in Black only. For those backers living outside of North America, this is the exact phone we already planned to send you. For those living in the US, this phone will work with major GSM carriers including AT&T and T-Mobile. The unfortunate situation is that it will remain locked to HSPA+ (3G/3G+) bands and will not be active on 4G/LTE.

2. For those of you who are not interested in the International YotaPhone 2, you’ll have the option to request a refund. We’re still figuring out the logistics for this, but the refunds will not be charged back to your credit card. We will instead send a reimbursement to you directly.

In the next week we’ll follow up separately with each of you to confirm your choice and share refund updates or shipping timelines based on your choice.

Moving Forward:

The good news is that, as a result of our growth, we are bringing on a new manufacturing partner who can support the scalability we need in order to quickly bring YotaPhone to various regions around the world, including North America. This includes delivering a new generation YotaPhone with the latest specs and technologies, but also at a lower cost, to allow us to offer better value to our customers in 2016. We hope that you’ll stay patient with us long enough so that we can deliver on this.

On a personal note, this news is a shot to the stomach for me as I started with Yota Devices last year with one goal: to put YotaPhone in the hands of customers in North America. In fact, I was such a huge fan of YotaPhone that I personally contacted Vlad, our CEO, to offer to lead these efforts which he was kind enough to grant me. Since then it’s been an amazing experience introducing YotaPhone 2 throughout the country and seeing the genuine excitement around our innovative smartphone from operator, retail, media and development partners. Though, as you can imagine, it’s not an easy life for a startup smartphone company and the aforementioned manufacturing difficulties have been one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced. However, I personally remain committed to delivering YotaPhone to the Americas and now I shift my focus to 2016.

In closing, and despite the circumstances, I want to say Thank You to all of you, for your support and excitement around YotaPhone 2. I also want to extend my thanks to the Indiegogo team for the opportunity and support they’ve given us.

All the best,

Matthew G. Kelly

Managing Director, Americas

The YotaPhone 2’s long-overdue U.S. launch should have been a huge success. Instead it’s ending in disappointment as the Russian company cancels the release and offers up refunds instead.

Yota Devices still hasn’t updated its Indiegogo page with the news, but it’s apparently sending emails directly to its backers to explain the situation. We’ve confirmed the news with the company’s Managing Director for the Americas, Matthew Kelly, and you can read the full email below. It reveals that the company ran into issues with its manufacturer. As a result the device would have shipped much later than promised when a “newer, cheaper and better YotaPhone” might already be available in other countries.

Instead the campaign has been cancelled entirely. Determined backers can actually request an international version of the device, though it won’t support 4G LTE speeds in America. You can request a refund otherwise, and Yota says it’s still sorting out the specifics of how this will work

Finally, the email notes that a new phone is still coming in 2016. TechnoBuffalo previously reported that the company is working on a YotaPhone 3 with upgraded specs and a slimmer design. There’s also the YotaPhone 2c, which could launch as soon as late 2015 for a cheaper price than its flagship sibling.

Hopefully we’ll see these future models available in the U.S. on a reasonable schedule. In the meantime it looks like the dream of a great E-Ink smartphone is still out of reach for North American shoppers.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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