Technology
Ubik Uno smartphone was made for you and me

These days, using a smartphone may seem easy to many of us, but making them is tough. There are a lot of tradeoffs that companies must make — the better the specs, the pricier the device.

Ubik Mobile hopes to become a more responsive player in the crowded Android market by tapping into the power of the people in a number of ways. First, by bypassing carriers and other retailers, it can cut out middlemen and the piece of the pie they command. Second, by launching the Ubik Uno,  its first phone on Kickstarter, it gets the benefit of getting case before fulfilling preorders. The Ubik includes many leading-edge components, including a  horizontally bezel-free display, an eight-core MediaTek processor and a 20 MP/4K camera with Sony sensor, at the price of a mid-tier device.

But the third way may be the most novel. The company plans to create a community that will vote on features for subsequent Ubik devices. Ubik seeks $200,000 by August 15th and the price of the smartphone, which is due to ship in September, is $345.

The Ubik Uno is a competitive device at an attractive price although one that is a bit above the true mid-tier so it will appeal either to discerning smartphone customers on a budget or less affluent ones willing to stretch theirs a bit. While some of its savings comes from the direct model, some surely comes from choosing a MediaTek processor as opposed to, say, a Qualcomm processor.

Indeed, while Ubik compares its device to premium brands such as Apple and Samsung, there are technically impressive phones starting to come from lesser-known (in the U.S.) Chinese brands such as Huawei and ZTE. Ubik may also find it challenging to try to get community feedback from its early adopters for lower-end devices. Fnally, the company will miss out on getting customers attracted to installment plans such as T-Mobile’s JUMP and AT&T Next. But for those with the cash on hand not willin to pony up for big brands and their advertising, the Uno could be their ticket to the leading edge.

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