Ex-Apple Chief Launches Cheap Obi Android Smartphones

From the former CEO of Apple, John Sculley, comes Obi Worldphone, a company that is promising a fresh and in inexpensive approach to the smartphone market. Obi this week introduced two low-price smartphones aimed at consumers in fast-growth markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The SF1 (pictured: angled at right) and SJ1.5 (pictured: left) offer a custom user interface for Android and incorporate technologies from Qualcomm, Dolby, Sony, Corning Incorporated, Google, MediaTek, Japan Display, and Samsung. The Obi Worldphone was designed by design studio Ammunition, founded in 2007 by Robert Brunner, the former director of Industrial Design at Apple.

"Over the next three years 1 billion users will upgrade from low-end, starter smartphones to models with more power and greater functionality," said Tim Bajarin, president of market research and analyst firm Creative Strategies. "The Obi Worldphone no-compromise design and aggressive pricing makes it very appealing to this audience as the market for smartphones expands and the upgrade market for smartphones accelerates."

Looking at John Sculley

While people are talking about the smartphones, just as many are talking about whoEUs behind Obi Worldphone. Sculley, the companyEUs co-founder, is the former head of Apple and Pepsi-Cola and an international investor in consumer technology companies.

"Obi has taken the best of Silicon Valley -- innovations in design, state-of-the-art technology and high standards for manufacturing -- and fused them into beautiful, powerful tools at attractive prices," Sculley said in a statement. "Our efficient cost structure and broad distribution combine to present empowering tools that help our customers achieve their aspirations."

Sculley sounds a little bit like the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs with his marketing spin. The difference, of course, is that Obi is targeting the low end of the market whereas Apple has always been aimed at the premium end. Still, Obi is not skipping...

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