…And it’s cheaper than anything Apple makes!
John Sculley was originally plucked from his position in PepsiCo in 1983 by Apple. However, after spending 10 years with the tech firm, he stepped down as CEO of Apple in 1993. Sculley has since become one of the top spokespeople in the technology industry today and a mentor to numerous startups.
It is during his many travels in Africa, India and parts of Asia that he witnessed first-hand the exponential rise of the middle classes in the emerging markets and how this rise is driving growth across the developing world. while observing this rapid increase in buying power, Sculley also noted the growth in demand for new technologies, wireless connectivity and smartphones even in the poorest countries. At present, 2.8 billion people have some type of mobile handset and all research indicates that this demand will only rise with another 1 billion seeking to buy a smartphone for the firs time in the next 3 – 4 years.
With all this in consideration, Sculley also noticed that most of the cheaper smartphone options (i.e. under $150) are not very good and do not represent good value for money. Seeing this big gap in the market, Sculley and his partners find a way to produce a good quality smartphone with high value spec, interface, usability and design that will retail under $200. Along with his fellow Apple graduate and famous designer Robert Brunner he created what has become the “Obi Worldphone” which comes in either the SF1 or SJ1.5.
The ‘Worldphone’ is a response to the need for a smartphone that is designed to meet the high standards produced at Silicon Valley with good quality materials and built to a high spec but sold at a much more affordable price i.e. $200 or less. The Worldphone SF1 is an Android smartphone that comes in a slender fiberglass-body. It has a metal trip, Sony camera, Dolby sound and a generous 5 inch screen. It is arguably one of the best Android smartphones on the market that comes with a price tag less than $200.
While the Worldphone SJ.1.5 has similar features but is a slightly lower-end device. Although it supports wireless connection it is not faster than 3G. However, the slightly slower connectivity is justified by its lower price which is around $129 or less.
If you are based in the UK, USA, China or Europe, you might find it difficult to find this phone because it is firmly targeted at the emerging markets of the world. This is based on Sculley’s belief that the smartphone market in the developed countries are largely saturated so the Worldphone series has been initially released in countries like Pakistan, Vietnam, Turkey, South Africa and Nigeria.
One can see how it has been influenced by the Apple way i.e. keeping the design clean, user friendly yet still very stylish. However, it parts from company with Apple in the sense that it still tries to remain affordable, in fact, some might say “cheap”, which is not something that can ever be said about any Apple product. This is probably a smart thing to do since it would be too much of an onerous task (perhaps impossible) for Obi to take on Apple with it’s large market share but instead focus on a smaller niche market that is not being properly catered for.
It is perhaps too early to tell if the Worldphone will become successful but John Sculley has the kind of business pedigree, contacts and marketing know-how that puts the Obi in good stead for becoming a big player in an exponentially growing global smartphone market.
|Sadly, the Obi is not available in the UK, USA, Europe or China But here is my comprehensive review of the 5 best mobile phones on the market that few people know about. These phones offer the same quality you would get with an iPhone or Android but at a fraction of the cost. Read more.|