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What gives with SavaJe?

Java-based operating system developer SavaJe has been getting ground up pretty badly by the rumour mill the past few days. Some reports suggest that the company is being wound up and UK staff have been sent home with their laptops until severance pay can be sorted out.

Other reports claim that SavaJe is desperately trying to secure more finding despite having raised $40m (£21m) in equity financing in December. Either way, things are not looking good for the company, which appears to have burned through about $100m in a few years.

Telecoms.com has been in touch with Andy Bush, director of business development at SavaJe, but he has not been “at liberty to comment” and all requests are being fielded through Ridgewood Capital in the US – one of the company’s backers.

Calls and emails to Ridgewood have so far gone unanswered.

SavaJe made quite a splash when its name first became well known in 2004, around the same time as the Open Mobile Terminal Alliance (OMTP) was pitching for the delivery of openly standardised user interfaces in handsets. This movement gained significant support from the industry, including most of the major players in the vendor community.

What SavaJe was proposing to do, was deliver an open and flexible user interface based on the desktop version of Java. Its roots made it attractive to the developer community, whilst operators loved the customisation options and security.

But it seems that the company had problems getting mainstream vendor support. LG Electronics became the first company to develop a handset using the SavaJe OS, while Hong Kong’s Group Sense launched a SavaJe device targeted at developers earlier this year.

More recently Chinese manufacturer Longcheer also climbed on board and the first commercial 2.5G SavaJe handset was set to be launched in Asia around now.

In fact, when telecoms.com met with Andy Bush in September, just before the Longcheer announcement, there was even talk of a future IPO and he demonstrated a working version of a Vodafone branded user interface.

But it now looks uncertain whether either of these prospects will ever see the light of day and indeed whether any handsets will feature the SavaJe OS in the future.

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