One big advantage for Android is the number of manufacturers, which can drive the price down. After last year’s success of the OnePlus One, other manufacturers are now seeing opportunities to sell contract-free phones directly to consumers at a competitive price.
The latest such offering is the Ubik Uno, which just launched on Kickstarter. Ubik’s goal is to offer a bezel-free flagship smartphone with a beautiful design, great display, solid performance, and an unbeatable price.
Ubik might not be a household name, but it’s not a fly-by-night company either. Ubik has offices in Korea, China, and the U.S. The group has more than 15 years of experience in the handset distribution and manufacturing field. Ubik’s parent company is Vitsmo, a Korean phone manufacturer with over 10 years of experience.
The Uno sports an all-metal frame and has a 5.5-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), bezel-free display with Gorilla Glass 3, a 2.2GHz octa-core MediaTek (MK6795) processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a MicroSD slot for up to an additional 64GB of extra storage, and a 3,100mAh battery.
Ubik hopes to compete with other flagships in the camera department, too. The phone is equipped with a 20 megapixel Sony Exmor RS IMX230 at the rear. It features an aperture of f/2.2, which is much higher (lower is better) than the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4. The rear lens will also be capable of recording 4K (4,096 x 2,160) video at 30 fps, 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) video at 60 fps, or 720p (1,280 x 720) video at 120 fps for slow motion. Selfie fans will appreciate the front-facing 5-megapixel shooter with fixed focus.
The Uno also comes with stock Android with virtually no bloatware. It will launch with version 5.1.1, and hopefully the fact that it’s stock means that future updates will be timely.
What makes the Uno even more attractive is that it’s fully unlocked, meaning no carrier contracts. It supports 3G, 4G, and LTE, and will supposedly work on all U.S. and Canadian carriers. However, LTE is only supported via GSM, so you’re limited to AT&T and T-Mobile here in the states. The same goes for other countries. You can take it abroad, but LTE will only be available via GSM.
An affordable price
The full retail price will be $345, but early backers will get a discount. The first 250 backers can get the Ubik Uno for $280, of which 120 spots remain as of the time of this post. The next 1,000 backers will pay $299, followed by the remaining Kickstarter backers, which will pay $320.
Kickstarter backers will receive the Ubik Uno in September 2015, while the phone will launch for everyone else during the fourth quarter of 2015.
The future is even brighter
Ubik’s future plans might be more compelling than the Uno itself. The company plans on using the crowd-sourced community to help design future phones. A Web portal will allow users to “choose your own adventure” by selecting between display size, camera, processor, etc.
Ubik takes it a step further by showing different scenarios based on selections. For example, if someone selects a thinner profile, then the battery size will need to be limited. Even the price will be listed based on the preferences.
After a period of time, Ubik will then pick the best combinations for the community to vote on and eventually decide what the next Ubik phone will be. A very novel approach indeed.
Creating a great phone at a great price isn’t good enough, but this unique, open-sourced approach could very well give OnePlus a run for the money.