There’s no shortage of affordable smartphones on the market, but former Apple CEO John Sculley thinks there’s room for a new type of low-cost phone. His new company Obi Worldphone has unveiled two new phones that will be priced under $200.

The $129 Obi SJ1.5 and $199 Obi SF1 are smartphones with 5 inch displays and Google Android software. But Sculley hopes will set them apart from hundreds of other devices on the market is the unique design and high-quality components.

obi phones

Obi’s smartphones were designed by San Francisco firm Ammunition, the same company that worked with Apple under Sculley’s leadership to develop the original PowerBook and Newton PDA, among other products.

The new phone should be available in select markets starting in October, and Obi plans to offer both of its new phones initially in developing regions including Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

While both phones are designed to appeal to price-conscious shoppers, you generally get more for your money if you spend a little more for the $199 Obi SF1… at least in terms of hardware. For some reason that model ships with Android 5.0, while the $129 SJ1.5 runs Android 5.1.

Both phones feature the Obi Lifespeed user interface, which includes a custom app launcher, wallpaper, and lock screen. Additional features could be added in the future.

Obi SJ1.5

The company’s $129 smartphone has a 5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel IPS display, a MediaTek MT6580 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a microSD card reader, an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 3,000 mAh battery. It’s a dual-SIM 3G phone.

obi sj1.5

It has a Magnesium-Titanium alloy chassis and a polycarbonate case.

The display features curved edges, which join with the curved sides of the phone, giving the SJ1.5 a more distinctive look than you’d usually find on a phone in this price range. The top edge of the phone is flat, while the sides and bottom are curved.

The screen features Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for scratch protection, and an oleophopbic coating to resist fingerprints.

Obi plans to offer four different color combinations including black and red, black and grey, all-red, or all-white.

Obi SF1

The $199 SF1 features a 5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, a 13MP Sony IMX214 rear camera, a 5MP front camera, Dolby Audio 7.1 channel surround sound, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a 3,00 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 1.0, dual SIM card slots, and support for 4G LTE.

Obi will offer a model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage and a higher-priced model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

This model also features curved edges and a flat top, but the SF1 has an unusual “elevated” display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which looks like it rests on top of the phone case.

via The Verge and Engadget


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5 replies on “Obi introduces high-style, low-cost smartphones for under $200”

  1. The UI on this is actually pretty nice; it’s a little gaudy, but I like the simplicity. I think this gives people who are less tech-inclined a more decent Android phone that doesn’t have a ton of excessive features/UI elements like some Samsung phones.

    1. Unremovable bloatware and a crappy software overlay kills the Zenfone for me.

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