Any sub-$200 smartphone worth its salt must come from a Chinese company, right? Former Apple CEO John Sculley is trying to change that perspective by co-founding Obi, a Silicon Valley-based company that has just announced a couple devices that will definitely turn heads and keep wallets healthy. These new handsets are the Obi Worldphone SF1 and SJ1.5.

The phones, which seem to be named after Bay Area cities San Francisco and San Jose, are outstanding. Not only because they are priced at $199 and $129, relatively, but also because they happen to look very unique. I happen to think they are gorgeous, but that is a very subjective matter. At the very least we can all agree that the design is definitely different.


And while Obi is definitely being generous on the price, the company is not skimping out on hardware. The Obi Worldphone SF1 comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, Android 5.0.2, a 1.5 GHz octa-coreQualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, an Adreno 405 GPU, 2-3 GB of RAM, 16-32 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front shooter, dual SIM capabilities and a generous 3000 mAh battery. For $200, that sounds like a steal!


Now, what can we expect from the even cheaper Obi Worldphone SJ1.5? The $129 device is not too shabby, either! It has a 5-inch 720p display, Android 5.1 Lollipop, a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6580 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, an 8 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing shooter, dual SIM capabilities and also a 3000 mAh battery.


If you are not impressed by those prices and specs coming from a US-based company, I don’t what anyone can do to grab your attention. Thinking of buying it? Here is where things get a bit tricky, at least for us USA residents. Though the company is American, there is no mention of a USA release! It’s obvious these phones are meant for emerging markets, and those are the areas Obi seems to be focusing on.


Both smartphones have an initial launch set in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Pakistan, Turkey and India. I mean, the phones are named after California cities; we have to get some love, right? We will have to wait and see. For now, just keep it tuned to this company. I can see it going big pretty soon!

Would you buy one of these?