Last month, Coship launched a crowdfunding campaign for its new Windows 10 Mobile handset. That campaign has now ended - and it hasn't exactly been a roaring success.
Coship sells numerous Windows phones under its own 'Moly' brand, but it also builds devices for several other companies around the world, such as Freetel, Funker and Yamada Denki, making it one of the largest Windows 10 Mobile device manufacturers.
But in October, the company publicly raised concerns over the future of the platform, saying that it was uncertain if it should continue investing in Windows phone development. Coship appeared to be unsettled by Microsoft's retreat from the mobile hardware market, which has hastened the platform's decline in market share; IDC estimates that Windows' share of the global smartphone market will have dropped to just 0.4% by the end of 2016. As a result of those concerns, Coship said that it would gauge the level of interest in its Windows phones by crowdfunding its next handset.
Today, the Indiegogo campaign for its new phone has closed. Three weeks after it began, the campaign reached less than 3% of its goal ($2,569 out of $100,000), with just 30 backers around the world. Given that the minimum cost for the handset was $179, it's clear that fewer than half of these backers actually wanted to buy the phone itself, instead choosing the $4 'WP digital booklet' or $5 '50% off Moly X1 phone case' options.
The reasons for the failure of the campaign to come anywhere close to reaching its goal are debatable, but there are many to choose from. For a start, Coship's "new" phone wasn't really new at all, but a lightly refreshed version of its Moly X1, which it launched earlier this year, after previously unveiling it in early 2015. Potential buyers may have been disinclined to back an older device, albeit with minor improvements.
Awareness of the campaign may have been another factor. While its crowdfunding efforts attracted some media attention among tech publications, Coship's social media presence is relatively limited. Buyers may simply have been unaware of the Indiegogo page, and there appears to have been little, if any, assistance from Microsoft in promoting awareness of the campaign. The fact that Microsoft is doing so little to actively promote and market Windows 10 Mobile on a broader scale may also have been a factor.
Ultimately, of course, it's also possible that smartphone buyers simply aren't interested in Windows phones - and given that the platform's market share never came close to troubling its Android and iOS rivals, and has continued to decline over the last few years in nearly every market worldwide, that must surely be viewed as a contributory factor here.
Coship isn't the only Windows 10 Mobile manufacturer to try the crowdfunding option. In July, Japan's NuAns launched a Kickstarter campaign to make its stylish Neo handset globally available. But after six weeks, the campaign ended with just 489 backers worldwide, reaching less than 20% of its $725,000 goal.
Considering that Coship was using its Indiegogo efforts to assess the level of interest in its Windows 10 Mobile devices, and whether or not it will be worth continuing development of future Windows hardware, it will be interesting to see how the company interprets the results of its crowdfunding campaign.