Sony, Samsung, LG, HTC, and a few others have long been the
brands leading in the way in the Android smartphone industry.
However, with the falling costs of technology and the growth of new potential
marketplaces has opened up opportunities for new brands to
challenge the popular brands, with new innovations, software, and low prices.
Here's our list of six smartphones companies that are hoping to shake up
the smartphone industry.
Nextbit has continued rolling out updates to its smartphone with very good software
improvements, ranging from camera tweaks to miraculous battery
improvements. The company also recently introduced a new Web
Client Beta to help users more easily get ahold of their online data from other devices.
The Robin may still be a little ahead of its time, as not everyone has
access to the Super fast data speed and consistent network coverage that
online software demands especially in Nigeria , but this situation will only improve in the
future. There’s clearly a bit more work to do to make cloud app and
data usage feel flawless, but the company’s next piece of hardware
and future software is certainly going to be quite interesting.
LeEco is no small fry like some of the other companies in this list,
but it’s still a relative newcomer to the market, having only released
its first smartphones back in early 2015. Even so, LeEco is probably
the company best placed to shake up the smartphone market, at
least in Asia.
Although we have already seen the rise of Lenovo, Huawei, and
Xiaomi in the Chinese market in the past couple of years, LeEco is
offering something more than just competitively priced smartphones.
LeEco already oversees a huge media empire in China, including
television, film, and sports broadcasting. Not only that, but LeEco is
actively working in the self-driving and electric car markets, putting it
up against Google and Tesla too. Unifying all of this with a single
software platform looks to be the company’s end goal, which would
certainly shaking up the way that Chinese customers consume their
media. LeEco has some rather big plans that are well worth keeping
an eye on.
If you’re concerned about the effects that smartphone manufacturing
has on the environment and social justice, then Fairphone is one
small company worth following. The business keeps a close eye on
where all of its parts and labor comes from, which costs a little
more, but ensures an ethically produced piece of hardware. The
company’s mission statement is to “bring a fair smartphone to the
market – one designed and produced with minimal harm to people
As part of its mission, Fairphone sets aside $5 into a worker welfare
fund for each smartphone that it sells. Fairphone only runs limited
batches of production, but sold enough of its phones to design a
handset in mid-2015 known as the Fairphone 2 .
The company has only produced two Android smartphones so far
and sold just over 100,000 units, which isn’t going to worry the
market share of today’s big players. Although the company did win
an award for the fastest-growing European tech startup back in 2015.
However, Fairphone’s message about ethical business will hopefully
keep the major manufacturers on their toes.
Data security leaks and spying documents don’t seems to have made much of an impact on data collection practices or the
purchasing preferences of customers, but at least one company is
fighting to protect its consumer’s data. Geeksphone and now Silent
Circle are the brains behind the security focused Blackphone series.
As well as running a customized version of Android without the
“backdoors,” the Blackphone comes packed with enhanced control
over app permission (before those introduced by Marshmallow),
secure encryption voice and text messaging, and the disconnect VPN
to help keep customer’s internet traffic anonymous.
Unfortunately, the company’s latest Blackphone 2 model appears to
have been a bit of a financial disaster for the company. After paying
$30 million for Geeksphone’s stake in the company, 2015 revenue
only amounted to $10 million and Silent Circle had apparently been
looking into filing bankruptcy before a new investment came along.
It’s not clear if the company will survive long enough for us to
actually see a Blackphone 3, but the idea of taking consumer security
seriously is certainly a noble one.
Besides ARM, few associations spring to mind between the UK
and smartphone manufacturing industry. However, a couple of new
handset designers have popped up in recent years, including
Interestingly, these companies aren’t after the high-end
segment, they’re very much focusing on low cost smartphones. A
couple of years ago a company called Kazam, which was started by
ex-HTC employees, gave a similar idea ago, but it’s Wileyfox that
seems to be carrying the banner these days.
Wileyfox was only founded back in 2015, but quickly enjoyed some
success thanks to the decent mid-range hardware, Cyanogen OS
software, and highly competitive price point of its Swift and Storm
model. Both were released in the final quarter of 2015 and also come
with a 2 year warranty.
I use an Obi Sf1 and I can give you a good testimony about this brand.
The UK isn’t the only Western country to see a number of low cost
manufacturers crop up lately. The USA has BLU and Obi Worldwide,
the latter of which was formed just back in 2014 by former Apple
CEO John Sculley. Unlike Wileyfox though, Obi is aiming its products
straight at emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The company tested the waters with two models in the UAE last year
and also sold two new in-house designed smartphones, the 4G-LTE
SF1 priced at $199 and $129 3G SJ1.5. The company has a new MV1
model this year, priced at just $149 (N49,500)while also offering LTE data
What makes Obi a particularly interesting company to watch is that
it’s taking a keen eye to design and hardware specifications, rather
than opting for the no-frills approach of other low-cost
manufacturers. The company has also been keeping tabs on
Xiaomi’s successful business model, with an eye to potentially
growing the business through higher margin accessories further
down the line.Despite recording some losses in Kenya and finally exiting the Kenyan Smartphone Market . With plenty of experience at the helm, Obi Worldwide
might just be able to cut through the swarm of low cost competitors.
Some sections of this article were culled from
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