Later this year, Wileyfox will debut two new smartphones in the Android market. The prospect of greater diversity in the smartphone arena is appealing, but is there space for new devices in a seemingly saturated marketplace?
You have to give the British business some credit: after all, it’s not every day that a company attempts the impossible. Wileyfox has two models lined up for release: the Swift and the Storm. The only thing more generic than the product titles is the styling of the phone, which looks pretty standard: big, slick screen and beveled edges—no sense in reinventing the wheel, right?
What the phone lacks in aesthetics, however, it makes up for in personalization and price. We’re all so acclimated to high smartphone prices that the thought of buying a $200 handset sounds more like a gimmick than a feasible alternative to a luxury-priced iPhone. This is where Wileyfox begins to separate itself from big competitors. At about $200 for the Swift and $300 for the Storm, these budget cellphones aim to provide users with an affordable device with some interesting features.
New and Exciting Features
The three most relevant and distinguishing features consumers are likely to notice focus on specific user preferences. Wileyfox has chosen to use Cyanogen OS rather than regular Android, which allows the user to customize settings that we normally don’t think about while using a smartphone—things like font, interface graphics, and colors to name a few. This OS also allows a bit more security with regards to app management. Additionally, the phone comes with Truecaller, which is yet another layer of protection against spam and telemarketers.
Lastly, these phones come unlocked and ready to travel. Some say this is the smartest thing about this smartphone. Currently, most smartphones come locked, or ascribed to a certain service provider, which uses a designated network (GSM, 4G, LTE, CDMA) to offer service. While traveling outside of your local service area—especially internationally—staying connected to the network becomes increasingly problematic if not altogether impossible. Both Wileyfox phones have a dual-SIM feature, which allows the phones to travel easier without needing to connect with different carrier technologies.
A lot of people are noting the similarities between Wileyfox and China’s budget version, called OnePlus. Wileyfox chose to install the same operating system, and plans to use similar viral marketing strategies to win consumers. But, so what? Wileyfox is probably going to make the biggest impact on its home soil, solving a problem that most people in the EU deal with on a regular basis—outrageous roaming charges.
Will Wileyfox be able to compete in the Android market? The jury’s still out. However, it’s no coincidence that the phone has been designed to move more freely while roaming, or that the security is beefed up for people on the go. This phone directly answers a need the people in Europe have. Will we see much of Wileyfox here in the US? That’s still up for debate. The Swift launches later this year in Europe and Asia, which will presumably be a test run for any chance it may have of surviving in the US Android market.