The following is neither a hard fact nor even remotely related to this discussion:
BQ might be closing down. Almost all their phones have been out of stock for a month now. Personally, I’ll miss them. As smartphone manufacturers go, they weren’t the worst. They were Spanish but the phones were made in China. Their website indicated that they had a factory in Spain, and I mistakenly thought that the phone I bought from them was made in Spain (their website is mostly just full of pictures of pretty people). They had a friendly and helpful customer service. They weren’t Fairphone, but in a world of bad smartphone builds, they were one of the better ones.
Sad, my bq tablet is doing really fine.
When I did some searching, I found, that bq was sold to the vietnamese company Vingroup: https://www.bq.com/en/pr-vingroup
Seems, this was the start of a rebranding.
bq will be vsmart (sorry german article only):
The homepage design seems to be the same: https://vsmart.net/vn-en/
But european homepages for Russia and Ukraine only so far.
In may (21st) they were looking for beta-testers for vsmart for Android 9 Pie on the Active 1 and 1+ (both have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 btw.).
And for all the spanish-speaking folks the forum might be the place to look for further information: https://www.mibqyyo.com/
Right now, they still sell those phones with Android 8.1 Oreo.
I don’t know how you do it. I searched for news on BQ everywhere a few weeks ago - Qwant, Ecosia, DuckDuckGo and Google. Tried both the ‘web’ section and the ‘news’ sections of these search engines. Nothing.
That’s what they tell in the open letter @BertG linked above, yes.
Vsmart arrives [to Spain] but BQ continues. We’ll continue developing products, systems and solutions. We’ll continue changing education with technology and creativity. We’ll continue creating awesome things in Spain for the world. And, in addition to all of that, we’ll also develop technology for Vsmart.
Also, remember that BQ is not only an smartphone brand. They started with e-readers, and they also make 3D printers and some education-oriented DIY robots with a fork of Scratch.
“51% of Mundo Reader, the company behind BQ, is now in the hands of the Vietnamese company. So they are the ones who have the money and set the tone.”
I had to use an online translation engine. I’m not proud of this. BQ previously teamed up with Canonical, as BertG pointed out. Ubuntu Touch folded but the Linux qualification brought some welcome attention on BQ. They sold the same hardware with Google Android as well, so this made things easy if you wanted to switch back or forth. Multiple software options is one of Fairephone’s strong points as well.
AndroidPit goes on to talk about Asian companies like Xiaomi that have gained a lot of market share by selling devices with high hardware specifications for relatively cheap. They don’t mention that they’re stuck together with glue, but then that’s not news.
A fourth, more premium version might follow after a somewhat shorter time span than that between the second and third. This is just speculation from me. It think I saw such speculation elsewhere though. It would not mean that everyone would have to rush out and buy the newest version I’m sure. I’m sure I’ve seen this article commented upon in English somewhere on this discussion forum or elsewhere as well.
Anyway, I hope Fairphone continues to be financially sustainable, and independent. And no, BQ have not gone away entirely.