What do guitar amp maker Marshall and construction equipment company Caterpillar have in common? They’ve both, for some reason or another, released branded smartphones. Now, you can add beverage conglomerate Pepsi to that not-so-exclusive list: On Thursday, the company officially unveiled the P1, a mid-range Pepsi-branded Android phone bound for China.
Updated on 11-19-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added details from Pepsi’s announcement.
Earlier this year, the P1’s spec sheet purportedly leaked on Chinese social network Weibo, and it seems the rumors weren’t far off. Like Marshall and Caterpillar before it, Pepsi seems to be betting on brand recognition rather than beefy hardware. The P1 features a 5.5-inch, 1,080p display, an octa-core, 1.7GHz MediaTek processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, and a 3,000mAh battery. It’s got a 13-megapixel, rear-facing shooter and 5-megapixel front camera, and leaked images seem to show capacitive buttons beneath the screen (back, home, and multitasking) and a fingerprint sensor around back.
Just what makes the P1 uniquely “Pepsi” isn’t obvious, except for the color scheme — to be clear, China-based electronics maker Shenzhen Scooby Communication Equipment, not Pepsi, is heading the handset’s manufacture. The press renderings show a home screen background featuring Pepsi’s signature red, white, and blue logo, and the phone’s reverse sports an embossed logo beneath the camera, and that appears to be the extent of customization.
Branded handsets are obviously trendy, but Pepsi and smartphones seem like a particularly unintuitive pairing. Marshall’s effort at least sports features most people would identify with the company’s history and expertise — the Marshall London sports twin headphone jacks and a dedicated audio chip. Caterpillar’s phone, appropriately enough for a construction equipment company, features a ruggedized design. The Pepsi P1 by comparison seems pretty homogenous.
One thing the P1 has going for is price. It’s available in China via a crowdfunding campaign with a fairly loft goal, $469,950 by December 3, but the campaign, if successful, will see the P1 hit market next month for $200. Backers can reserve it for even cheaper right now — anywhere between $78 and $150.
Pepsi confirmed the P1 to Reuters following the initial leak, but declined to share specifics. If there’s more to the P1 than meets the eye, we’ll find out once it begins shipping to backers. Here’s hoping for a Crystal Pepsi dispenser, a body crafted from Pepsi-can aluminum, incredibly good waterproofing, or any combination of the three, really.
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