Florida-based smartphone maker bets on affordable, unlocked devices

By on March 18, 2013, 3:30 PM

Blu Products is not a household name in the smartphone world, but the Florida-based startup is trying to carve out a piece of the market with a range of affordable and unlocked offerings running stock Android. Their latest salvo includes a trio of devices packing large displays and what at least on paper appears to be very capable hardware for the price: the Life One, Life View, and Life Play.

All three share the same MediaTek MT6589 1.2 GHz chipset, which combines four ARM Cortex-A7 cores with PowerVR Series5XT graphics, as well as stock Android 4.2 out of the box, HSPA+ data connectivity for speeds of up to 41 Mbps, a single gigabyte of RAM and active dual SIM support -- which means it’s possible to have two numbers on one device and receive calls on either at any given time, even simultaneously.

Beyond that the Life Play is the smallest of the bunch with a 4.7-inch HD (1280 x 720) IPS display. It also offers the smallest price tag at $229 off contract and the most discrete combination of hardware with only 4GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD) an eight-megapixel rear camera, a two-megapixel front camera.

The flagship Life One packs a 5-inch Gorilla Glass 2 covered display instead, at the same 1280 x 720 resolution, and a solid aluminum body. Priced at $299, it will ship with 16GB of internal storage, a larger 2,000mAh battery, and upgraded cameras -- 13-megapixel on the back and a 5-megapixel front shooter.

Lastly, for those venturing into phablet territory there’s the Life View, which bumps the display size to 5.7-inch and includes an even larger 2,000mAh battery for the same $299 unlocked without contract.

The Verge ran a quick profile on the company highlighting their low overhead, low prices approach and citing companies like Vizio as examples of others that have successfully followed this path.  According to the report, CEO Sammy Ohev-Zion is confident it’s now possible to build high-quality smartphones for a fraction of what industry giants like Apple and Samsung charge, and the Nexus 4's success serves as evidence that there’s a willing audience for unlocked phones who don't want to be locked in to two-year contracts.

Blu Products has grown from shipping 70,000 units during its first year of operations in 2009 to 4.1 million last year, and has already secured distribution with companies like Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy.




User Comments: 4

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JC713 JC713 said:

Yeah right they can take on Samsung... They don't have 400 million in advertising.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Did a quick look around the web and found mostly negative reviews. Mostly about firmware issues with the OS, also won't connect to 3G in the US, really bad camera, ect. The rugged one might be worth it as a 2nd phone for when going to the beach or boating and don't want to just leave the phone in the car. But I'm sure for under $200 you could get some kind of waterproof case for an existing phone or have it coated. For example Liquipel cost $60, but then you have to go without your phone for up to 5 days.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

When they find a way where you can answer both calls at the same time, then call me and count me in.

Zoltan Head said:

When they find a way where you can answer both calls at the same time, then call me and count me in.

You would probably need to pull in to the side of the road.

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