Monday, March 18, 2013

BLU Ocean Strategy. Miami-based BLU Products finds a low-cost, dual-SIM smartphone niche in Latin America.

( With Chinese-made products of course. )



Related articles:
Here’s Where They Make China’s Cheap Android Smartphones. Apple & Samsung, beware >>

MediaTek to see revenues rally 50% sequentially in March >>

KEY MOBILE TRENDS: commoditization, MediaTek, China

There are many smartphone vendors around the globe that I have never heard of. Most of them are based in China or India or other Asian markets. Here is one that is not. BLU Products. BLU who?

I don't think I had heard of BLU until earlier this month. According to the company's website, BLU was founded in 2009 "by Latin American entrepreneurs" and is headquartered in Miami. "More than one million BLU mobile devices have been sold in 25 countries throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and the U.S." These are not huge volumes for the handset market, but BLU seems to have found a niche.

BLU sells both feature phones and Android-based smartphones, all of which are certainly imported from a Chinese manufacturer. The newsworthy point here is the relatively low prices of their recently announced devices. One Android phone, called "LIFE Play," will sell for $229 on Amazon and other sites. Life Play is 7.9mm thin, has a 4.7-inch HD (720p?) screen, an 8 megapixel camera with 1080p recording, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, a microSD expansion slot, and support GSM and HSPA networks. And apparently it's dual SIM. There's no LTE support, but this might not have much consequence in some target markets. This smartphone and other Android handsets recently announced by BLU are based on top of a MediaTek quad-core chipset.

Last week we saw a 5-inch, 1080p smartphone from a Chinese called Neo for around $145 in China. It's clear where things are headed.

BLU Products "LIFE Play," a dual-SIM, 4.7-inch Android smartphone for $229:


Unknown said...

Hi Peter,

Read this:

Blu is growing — from 70,000 units in 2009, its first year, to 4.1 million last year — and it's growing in key areas.

Peter Bryer: Mobile Foresighter said...

Hi Ville,

Thanks for the comment and link. At least for me, this vendor really did come out of the blue.

Here's an issue of the value of the brand. Assuming the quality of the devices are about equal, how much more will consumers pay for the Samsung or Sony stamp on the front?

Fro the article: "Blu Products, a relatively unknown manufacturer..."

I don't think calling them a manufacturer is right. They are an importer.

Here is a good, related MIT Tech Review article: