Former Apple CEO John Sculley recently launched two new smart phones- Obi Worldphone SJ 1.5 and SF1, targeting countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The Obi worldwide brand which entered the smartphone market in 2014, recorded 336 million units in sales after its first quarter, and is looking to sustain that record with these new set of smartphones.
Both phones, according to Sculley, were created to provide Silicon Valley calibre design while bridging the gap between two extremes- highly expensive, and cheap substandard smartphones. Sculley emphasised that they wanted to provide a slick high quality device that comes with features to satisfy the intended users’ hunger for content and also meet their social media needs.
Obi worldwide partnered with Brunner and Ammunition, a design firm to create a seamless edged, 13 mega pixel camera resolution and Dolby audio sound phone. While the SF1 is more advanced than the SJ 1.5 in design and user interface quality, both were created to make a cheap smartphone seem expensive.
These features were considered universally desirable by the designers, who acknowledged that it is difficult to make a smartphone that can serve all the needs of a particular market.
Smartphones have contributed immensely to the growth of internet and social media activities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Various smartphone companies, over the years, have taken advantage of the potential markets in these continents, providing them with choices outside feature phones. A report by Global Technology Consulting Firm forecasts 155 million smartphone shipments in Africa and the Middle East at the end of 2015. The growth of smartphones in these markets is partly because of their affordability.
Obi worldwide priced the SJ 1.5 and SF1 under $129 and $199 respectively. Android, Chinese and other local smartphone brands already in these markets reflect how well cheap and affordable smartphones are faring.
A Gartner research revealed that local and Chinese smartphone brands experienced 73 percent growth in the first quarter of the year. The Obi world phones might receive the same level of acceptance in the market with its cheap but standard brands.