Obi Mobiles, a handset manufacturer co-founded by former Apple Chief Executive Officer John Sculley, is gearing up to bring its global phones to India by December this year.
On Wednesday, the Dubai-headquartered company launched two mid-range smartphones — Obi Worldphone — targeting the telecom markets across Asia, Africa and West Asia.
“We are going to all these countries and we have to take the friction from these countries before we launch in India, which is the most competitive market in the world now. We will launch in India within this year,” Sculley told BusinessLine in an interaction.
“We want to get some experience before we launch it in India,” he added.
Obi Mobiles was co-founded by John Sculley, serial entrepreneurs Neeraj Chauhan, Shane Maine and Gordon McMillan. Additionally, global insurance giant Generali Group has co-invested in Obi with a venture capital fund. However, the quantum of investment was not disclosed.
“Before we launch the handsets in India, we hope to create enough interests so that we can come sure footed,” Chauhan, who is also the CEO of the company, said.
New handsets The company has launched two handsets — SF1 and SJ1.5 that were designed by San Francisco-based product studio Ammunition. The feature-rich handsets would be available across 70 countries around the world by 2017, starting with countries such as Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, East Africa and Bangladesh.
The differentiators are the design and technology and the price. These handsets come with features that generally available on a $700 phone,” Chauhan added.
The smartphones are being shipped with high-end technology from Qualcomm, Dolby, Sony, Corning, Google, MediaTek, Japan Display and Samsung.
Obi Worldphone SF1 is the company’s flagship 4G/LTE smartphone, which has a raised 5-inch display and features a dual-SIM slot with micro secure digital. The handset is priced at $199 for the 16 GB version and $249 for the 32 GB.
The SJ1.5 is a 3G smartphone powered by the MediaTek MT6580 Quad-Core processor. The model, which works on the Android Lollipop operating system, is priced at $129.
(The writer is in San Francisco at the invitation of Obi Mobiles)