It’s a great time to be looking for a cheap phone in China. Launched through Xiaomi’s crowdfunding campaign, the Qin phone will come with access to A.I., a 4G antenna, and a USB-C port — all for just 199 Chinese yuan (about $30).
Pronounced “shin,” the Qin features a T9 keypad, a 2.8-inch screen running a 320 x 240 resolution, and an extremely retro design that harks back to the golden age of Nokia’s 8810 phone. Like the 2018 reboot of Nokia’s phone, the Qin will have access to some artificial intelligence capabilities (including real-time translation), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G connectivity on some models.
The Qin will come in two models. The first, the Qin 1, is the lower powered of the two models, with a MediaTek MT6260A chipset, a single ARM7 CPU core, 8MB of RAM, and 16MB of storage. The Qin 1 will only have access to 2G networks, and will not have access to GPS or LTE, but it will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. It will run on an operating system known as “Nucleus.”
The second, more powerful handset is the Qin 1s, which sports a Spreadtrum SC9820 chipset, two 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 cores, and a comparatively mighty 256MB of RAM and 512MB of onboard storage. The Qin 1s has access to 4G networks and GPS, and will run on an operating system only referred to as “MOCOR5.” Aside from sounding like one of Captain America’s villains, there is little else known about this OS.
Both handsets will be equipped with a 1,480mAh battery that the manufacturer claims will last up to 15 days. Both come with USB-C ports, and also come with dual-SIM support, an infrared zapper, and a bunch of other features.
The biggest difference between this and other feature phones? Neither model of the Qin phone has a camera on the front or back, or a headphone jack. Those are both major departures for the feature phone crowd and it’s interesting that the manufacturer felt neither were needed.
The Qin is only currently available as a part of the crowdfunding campaign, and will likely never surface outside of China. However, it has made a splash there — the crowdfunding campaign hit 1 million yuan (about $146,000) within an hour of release.
Despite the title on the video, it’s worth confirming that this is not a Xiaomi phone — it’s simply being offered on Xiaomi’s crowdfunding platform. A Xiaomi spokesperson sent us this statement: “The Qin 1 and Qin 1s mobile phones are made by Shenzhen Duoqin Technology Co., Ltd., and are currently offered on Xiaomi’s crowdfunding platform, which is open to many third-party non-Xiaomi brands, in China. Qin 1 and Qin 1s are not part of Xiaomi’s lineup of mobile devices, but do make use of Xiaomi’s Xiao Ai voice assistant for smart interactions.”
The Qin 1 is available from just 199 Chinese yuan (about $30), while upgrading to the Qin 1s takes the price up to 299 Chinese yuan (about $45). The phone will release on September 15.
Edited on August 6: We have edited the article for veracity after mistaking the Qin for a Xiaomi phone.
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