CREO, the rebranded Bangalore-based hardware startup has finally unveiled its flagship smartphone, the Mark 1 with top-of-the-line specifications and a Cyanogen-like skinned version of Android, called the FUEL OS.
After being tempted with those beautiful teasers and feature updates, and the promise to deliver a new phone each month, we had been direly waiting for the launch of the Mark 1. The device is finally here and packs in a mix of positives and negatives. Lets take a look.
During the launch event, Co-founder and CEO, MR Srinivas said,
We’ve been working long and hard to put out a product that redefines the way we look at hardware. In our fearless endeavor to make a smartphone that is more than just the sum of its great specs, we’ve built FUEL – an Operating System that’ll give a new phone experience every month, with features that deliver on both, performance and functionality.
CREO is banking upon its USP of providing a first-of-a-kind seamless Android experience, with new feature updates each month based on the suggestions and feedback of a dedicated smartphone community. First few features are in the pipeline and will be delivered by CREO themselves, which includes a Photo Editor, Senso 2.0, Front Screen Flash, etc.
You could compare it with Windows Insider program and other such beta programs launched by software companies, where users are given new features to try and test them out, and provide feedback. This could however be the first time, that such an approach has been applied to hardware.
Let’s take a look at the key hardware specifications of the CREO Mark 1 –
- Display: 5.5 inch Quad HD display with 534 PPI pixel density
- Processor: 1.94Ghz True octa-core SoC
- RAM: 3GB RAM
- Storage: 32GB internal storage expandable upto 128GB using microSD card
- OS: Fuel OS running on Android Lollipop 5.1.1
- Camera: 21MP Sony Exmor rear camera with LED flash along with an 8MP front facing camera
- Battery: 3100mAh
- Connectivity: 4G LTE, 3G, WIFI, GPS
- Dual SIM: Hybrid slots (can use either a Second SIM or a MicroSD card)
The principle thing to focus here is the Software, and thats really what there is, to differentiate this phone from the crowd. CREO alongside its flagship phone, has also debuted a new OS, which they are calling the FUEL OS. The OS design retains the stock Android look and feel but includes a lot of cool and unique new features such as Echo, Retriever, Sense, Notification Manager, Smart Sim Slot, amongst many others.
You can just double tap the Home Button to activate Sense, it doesn’t matter if you’re inside an application or playing a game. It will open up a search bar, where you can easily search the entirety of your phone, be it settings, contacts or even your photos.
Dubbed as the feature that will help you ‘Never miss a call again’. This is a network independent answering machine for your phone, where you can easily record personalized greetings, which the users will listen when you cannot pick up the phone and you can listen to the messages recorded by the users, once you’re free.
The Retriever is foolproof anti-theft application in-built into the FUEL OS. It automatically triggers alerts to your Email ID anytime a new SIM is inserted into your Mark 1 or when you have lost your phone.
Other major features include Smart Roaming for Dual Sim, Clean Inbox for Messages, Smart Roaming, Lock screen Gestures and much more. You can also customize your Mark 1, by engraving a quote, or your name or anything that your heart desires on the side of your device.
For after-sale support services of Creo Mark 1, they are starting out with 106 support centers in 96 cities, and the top 15 cities will have a pickup and drop service as well. According to CREO, the number will grow to 300 support centers in the coming months.
The price of the device has been set at Rs. 19,999 and it will available for sale on Flipkart very soon. Even though the price is a little on the higher side, it would still be exciting to see how many people will pre-register for the sale. The price however, could really be a sort of blockade here if you consider mass sale. Do note though, this could well be The Android Experience which you’ve been waiting for, and paying a premium for that seems legit.
CREO has step foot in a market that is already extremely over-crowded with a lot of smartphone makers trying to take the reigns of the Indian market, by making the most-feature packed smartphone at an affordable rate. But, we’ll have to wait and see consumer response on whether the strategy of providing a top-notch hardware, packed with a custom Android experience prove fruitful for CREO or simply sink down, like many other droid devices out there.