Cyanogen’s Open Android — which is what everyone has taken to calling the company’s own version of Android which, as its name signifies is rather more customizable than Google’s version, will soon be seen in parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa riding on two brand new smartphones.
The newest devices that will sport Cyanogen’s open OS have been manufactured by Wileyfox, a US based company with its manufacturing base in China. What that means is that although the devices will actually be manufactured in China — All hail cheap manufacturing costs! — they will not branded as such , courtesy services such as European-based call centers for after sales and screen replacements.
While some may brand Wileyfox as a latecomer — considering the fact that many, including several top analysts, now think that the smartphone market, and more particularly the android sector has reached its saturation point — others argue that there is still room to stretch, and Wileyfox’s strategy is certainly sound.
Since the devices are going to debut in Europe and Middle east first, they will not have the hordes of domestic competitors like here in Asia — all bent on offering the cheapest and the latest in tech — one faces in the asian markets, there is going to be enough of competition to keep Wileyfox’s hands full.
Moving to the devices, the more expensive Wileyfox Storm comes with a price tag of £199/€249 and features a 5.5-inch full HD display with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 octa-core chipset backed by 3GB of RAM. Camera-wise, you get 20 MP rear and 8 MP front snappers with the whole thing powered by a 2500 mAH battery.
The lower ended Wileyfox Swift on the other hand, comes with a 5-inch HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core chipset, 2GB of RAM and a 13/5 MP camera combo. The whole package has been priced at £129/€169.
All in all, the devices has been reasonably priced, although there are certainly manufacturers who may provide rather better technology at nearly the same price points.
The one thing that Wileyfox has going in its favor though is the fact that unlike Samsung and other Smartphone giants, it does not depend upon retail sales, which is actually a good thing in todays tech crazy world where people would much rather punch a few buttons and order something online, rather than walking a few block to a shop and purchasing it in person.
Wileyfox’s European CEO, Nick Muir elaborated upon the importance of his company’s participation with Cyanogen’s customizable, open source Android with the following statement,
Our target customer values choice, security and reassurance. These savvy individuals do not want their data made available beyond their control. They want to be able to change the appearance of their screen, beyond just the wallpaper and lock-screen. They want efficient, personalised shortcuts and gestures. They want friendly, helpful 24/7 customer service. And above all they want great quality, premium handsets with the latest technology. Responsive, well-built, reliable, quick-charging handsets with great battery life. And that’s what Wileyfox is all about.
Well, that’s all good and well. However, between competition from new players such as OnePlus and established veterans such as Samsung and Apple and a market that has undeniably slowed down — thanks to an over-availability of devices along with the fact that smartphones of today are durable, and no longer need to be replaced quite so quickly — it will be interesting to see if Wileyfox’s strategy of partnering up with Cyanogen to present a new flavor of Android enables it to establish itself firmly in the market.
Hmm, if the faith — not to mention the $115 million funding — Cyanogen has received from giants in the field, such as Qualcomm and Foxconn among others, in recent days is any indication, it just might.