Freetel is preventing to discover a US area of interest for its mid-vary telephones

Freetel is fighting to find a US niche for its mid-range phones

Should you check out who’s making fairly priced unlocked telephones for the US, you will see Chinese language names like ZTE and Huawei pop up rather a lot. Freetel — a Japanese smartphone maker — needs in on that very same recreation, although, it hopes a contact of Japanese design philosophy will assist it stand out in a far-flung market that is notoriously robust to squeeze into. That is partially the thought behind saying the Rei, a $249 Marshmallow-powered system that they anticipate to launch within the US inside 6 to 7 weeks.​

Gallery: Arms-on with Freetel's Musashi smartphone | 12 Photographs

Frankly, although, the Rei does not stand out all that a lot. It is usually a reasonably nondescript gadget with an sufficient 5.2-inch 1080p show — colours have been fairly energetic although the panel itself is not value writing residence about. It appeared to be operating a principally inventory model of Android Marshmallow (the one distinction I observed was the format of the digital camera app), however it was fairly clearly non-last stuff. Nonetheless, swiping by way of menus and launching apps labored with out a lot hesitation, although that ought to actually be desk stakes for a tool with an octa-core chipset and 2GB of RAM. Flip the factor over and you will uncover an aluminum again cowl (obtainable in 4 colours to go well with everybody) and a thirteen-megapixel digital camera that appeared to get tripped up for a second between hitting the shutter button and truly taking a photograph. Once more, that is at the very least partially due to unfinished software program, however I actually hope no matter’s inflicting it will get tidied up.

In the long run, the Rei’s largest flaw is its anonymity. It isn’t all that dangerous in anyway, nevertheless it’s not notably exceptional both. The corporate says “rei” in Japanese means lovely, elegant and sensible. What they neglect to say is that “rei” can even imply “zero”, which is the variety of this stuff they will promote within the US until they have some nice advertising or partnership plans within the works. Fortunately for Freetel, they’re making an attempt to clean out the retail plans and potential service offers which may give them a preventing probability.

Freetel is fighting to find a US niche for its mid-range phones

However I might be mendacity if I stated I used to be solely on this new system. Freetel revealed an Android flip-telephone referred to as the Musashi at this yr’s CES, and since I missed it the primary time round, I used to be honor-sure to fiddle with this factor till individuals round me began to glare. I imply, it is simply so absurd, proper?

The specs, in a short time: it has two four-inch screens, an exterior one (swathed in Gorilla Glass to maintain it from getting banged up) operating at 800×480 and a barely sharper qHD display on the within. There is a MediaTek chip thrumming away in there, powering a principally inventory model of Android 5.1. The age of the software program might sound disconcerting, nevertheless it’s actually irrelevant — individuals (like me, in all probability) will purchase it as a result of they need a flip telephone that runs trendy apps. Regardless of the inherent absurdity of the thought — absurdity that undoubtedly is not restricted to Freetel — there is a distinct sense of previous-faculty satisfaction that comes with pecking out Line messages with a spacious 9-key pad. It’s, nevertheless, fairly lengthy for a flip telephone, and downright chunky when closed. Your pockets may need a bit hassle containing this factor.

Whereas the marketplace for Android flip telephones within the US is principally non-existent, I’ve received to offer Freetel chops for bringing the Musashi over anyway. Whether or not it finds an viewers past flip telephone fetishists is up within the air, however no matter — it’s going to launch alongside the Rei for a similar $249 comparatively quickly.

Gallery: Freetel's Android flip telephone is coming to the US | eleven Photographs

Chris spent his youth taking aside Sega consoles and writing terrible fan fiction. To his utter shock, that zeal for electronics and phrases would ultimately lead him to overlaying startups of all stripes at TechCrunch. The primary telephone he ever swooned over was the Nokia 7610, and to this present day he cringes every time anybody says the phrases “Bengal Boy."He additionally actually hates writing about himself within the third individual.