Vodafone bins 360 handsets

Vodafone has revealed plans to scrap the development of LiMo-powered Vodafone 360 handsets and focus instead on rolling out its mobile synchronisation and cloud back-up services to more platforms and devices.

The operator will also halt development of the upcoming Samsung H2, a little over two weeks after unveiling the handset’s specifications, according to a report on Total Telecom.

“From now on we will be focusing all efforts on expanding the range of handsets and platforms that support Vodafone 360 and in developing and enhancing the suite of Vodafone 360 services,” said Vodafone in a statement emailed to Total Telecom on Monday.

“Consequently there will be no further development of bespoke Vodafone 360 handsets, and activity on the [Samsung] H2 ceases with immediate effect.”

Vodafone 360 enables users to aggregate contacts across multiple online accounts including email and social networking providers, and provides access to a cloud-based backup service.

From its launch in September 2009, Vodafone intended that its 360 suite would be compatible with a variety of mobile devices, although it simultaneously introduced two Vodafone 360-specific phones: the Samsung-made, LiMo-based M1 and H1. The operator said these would be the first in a range of specially-designed phones tailored to offer the quintessential Vodafone 360 experience. Details of what would have been the third device in the range, the Samsung H2, first appeared in May, with Vodafone confirming its specifications earlier this month.

However, Vodafone 360 has been poorly received by customers who have experienced problems synchronising both the H1 and the M1 with email accounts, as well as synchronising social networking contacts and updates between handsets and 360’s cloud-based backup service.

Despite a number of firmware updates, Vodafone 360 users are still reporting myriad issues via the company’s dedicated online forum.

Vodafone said its main focus for Vodafone 360 has always been on services, rather than specially-designed handsets.

“We have always been clear that Vodafone 360 is about a suite of services, not just about bespoke devices – our intent was always to provide services across as many handsets as possible on as many platforms,” said Vodafone.
“We have decided to accelerate our Vodafone 360 services strategy, making 360 services available on as many devices as we can as soon as we can.”

The operator said Vodafone 360 is now available on over 100 handsets and on five mobile platforms, “and this will continue to expand going forward.”

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