Sirin Labs' ultra-secure $16,000 smartphone is no more
Successfully competing in today's smartphone market is a very challenging proposition, especially for start-ups or companies looking to branch into the space. That challenge is exponentially increased when your first smartphone device is designed for a niche market, and explodes when its cost is beyond what most people are willing to pay. Sirin Labs dared to take on that triple challenge with its $16,000 Solarin smartphone, and in less than a year's time it has decided to move in a completely new direction.
That does not mean that Sirin Labs is bowing out of the smartphone race. The Israeli company has acknowledged that its future lies in producing mass-market devices instead of devices with limited appeal. As a result, it has let go of one-third of its workforce, which it will partially replace with new engineers who will work on "supporting its new line of products." However, Solarin users will not be forgotten—their devices will receive official support for at least another year.
The Solarin was conceived as a luxury phone for luxurious people. Marketed towards wealthy consumers, business professionals, and "really, really smart people," the Solarin seemed to know its intended audience. Its official launch in London last year was attended by big-name celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, and Solarin promotional images regularly featured international supermodel Irina Shayk. The Solarin was made with premium materials such as titanium and leather with optional crystal and diamond accents, and it featured good hardware specs, at least on paper. Its biggest claim, though, was that it offered "ultra-security" via partnerships with cybersecurity firms Zimperium and Koolspan, which provided enhanced encryption capabilities as well as round-the-clock live support.
All of that was still not enough to get potential buyers to pay five figures for the Solarin, especially when other security-focused phones were available for a fraction of the cost. Hopefully, Sirin Labs' future products take cost into serious consideration before being unveiled to the public.