Published on November 9th, 2015 | by Varuna Singh3
WileyFox Swift & Storm UAE launch
What does this region need more than the overcrowded smart phone manufacturers? Another smart phone manufacturer according to WileyFox- a new phone manufacturer with roots from Europe and the UK.
Watch the Launch Report Video above.
WileyFox launched in Dubai recently with a partnership between Souq.com. Souq is acquiring a lot of accounts and launches in the region and WileyFox is keeping its eggs in Souq’s basket for promotion as well as online sales. At the event Souq.com’s CEO and Founder Ronaldo Mouchanwar also commented on the mobile landscape that’s in common between the two firms.
“What does the Fox say?”
WileyFox’s name stems from its founder’s vision of the brand. The word “WileyFox” is supposed to depict a playful, fast-moving and independent brand. The brand’s roots are in Europe and the Middle East is their next entry. Its founders come from mobile telecommunications background and investors have a common interest in mobile technologies.
Speaking at the event, Nick Muir CEO of WileyFox in the Europe thinks smartphones shouldn’t cost as much as they do today. WileyFox is able to offer some decent specs at a crazy low price.
WileyFox launched two new smartphones – the Storm and the Swift. They are both Android phones that are clean and have really impressive prices for their spec. They run the much-loved and active Cyanogen mod on top of Android 5 Lollipop.
“A partnership with Qualcomm and Cyanogen”
The WileyFox Storm is a dual SIM 4G LTE phone with a 5.5” Full HD Display. It has the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor that’s really fast for most of what Android and its apps demand. It even has a plenty 3GB of RAM. Its running Cyanogen OS 12.1 with a SONY 20 MP Rear Camera and an 8 MP Front facing camera. The Storm comes with 32 GB of internal memory and yes you can expand it to 128GB with a microSD card. When I tested the device, both the Storm and the Swift ran butter smooth.
The WileyFox Swift is also a dual SIM 4G LTE phone that is extremely competitive. With a 5” HD display, 13 MP back and 5MP rear camera, 2 GB RAM with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 processor and 16GB internal storage (expandable with microSD). Both the Swift and the Storm have 2500 mAh batteries.
The best bit about the Storm and the Swift is the price. The flagship STORM retails for AED799 only and the Swift for AED499 Only. These prices are ridiculously cheap and it might make you think how WileyFox is able to do this.
“WileyFox is able to keep the costs very low – They don’t even have a HQ”
WileyFox is an extremely agile brand and an extremely low-cost organization. They are able to pass all of these costs pass the consumer. They are hence able to pass all of these costs and focus on partnerships and devices that cost really low.
WileyFox is a team of less than 30 people. They work directly with the manufacturers in China and do not even have a main head quarter anywhere around the world. They are by design, a very lean organization. That enables them to not spend money on commercial office space or even on redundant employees. Their business isn’t legacy but is proven chemistry of devices, inventory, manufacturing and sales.
Another tactic WileyFox uses is to grab parts such as the Sony EXMOR 20 MP sensors when newer parts are created. That keeps WileyFox one step behind the flagship upgrade parts but that’s because previous part prices drop.
The brand still outlines build quality on top of this. Its main value proposition is still to offer decent to great build quality for the best price possible. WileyFox therefore bundles the new Snapdragon chipsets from Qualcomm for performance and Cyanogen OS on the software side.
Cyanogen OS is much known and loved by Android fans and it’s probably the best set of clean additions to Android that makes it Android +. WileyFox is one of the first brands to bring the version 12 update in the form of a device in the region.
WileyFox is also starting off as an internet based brand. Much like Huawei’s Honor brand, WileyFox is set to only sell its brand online and not in physical retails. It is available on Souq.com and for now continues to be exclusive to Souq.com. The move for brand opting out of physical retail stores is lean as well as an indicator to how most people buy phones these days. Completely opting out of retail might not give a clear indicator to a potential buyer however.
The devices itself feel very normal and basic. They feel a bit cheap in comparison to other phones that are 3 times as expensive. The back and plastics around the phone has a little bit of confidence but not something I would completely trust that would survive a fall without bends. The phones are very plastic-y but have a nice grip to them. If this is your main phone, you would want to get a cover for this which WileyFox doesn’t currently provide.
“The negatives change really soon”
The negatives change really soon when you play with the clean and elegant look for Cyanogen OS Android. It’s really fast and so is the screen. Viewing angles and resolution are both great. WileyFox has a real winner here the Swift goes for AED 499 and the Storm for AED 799.
“The perpetual wisdom is that the marketplace suggests that you need the power of a multi-national co-operation with 10% minimum market share to make something work and competitive. This is not the case” said Nick Muir speaking with us at the WileyFox launch.
And that’s mostly true as long as you can get rid of internal and external costs to an organization. With an organizational size of less than 30, WileyFox has done that. They devices might not be the best in build quality but they perform really well and fall in the mid-range category that perform really well. Thanks to Cyanogen, the mid-range category of WileyFox is more appealing than any other mid-range range from other manufacturers. WileyFox seems to have found a good mix of things to formulate a success.
Success in the region to WileyFox isn’t going to be dependent on a static percentage of market share. WileyFox doesn’t want to compete with the Samsungs and Apples of ecosystem. It simply wants to break even to a point where it is profitable. Think of it as their lean MVP strategy.
With an appealing value proposition, the agile brand thinks it can get there. The WileyFox Storm and Swift go for AED799 and AED499 respectively and they are available at Souq.com today.