How Wileyfox Intends to Carve Out a Smartphone Market Niche

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-08-27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - How Wileyfox Intends to Carve Out a Smartphone Market Niche
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    How Wileyfox Intends to Carve Out a Smartphone Market Niche

    Yet another smartphone maker is trying to make a name for itself. But does Wileyfox have what it takes to be a credible alternative to the big, entrenched smartphone makers?
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    2 - What Is the Wileyfox Mission?
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    What Is the Wileyfox Mission?

    Those who haven't heard of before Wileyfox may wonder what the company is all about. Wileyfox says that it's a change agent in the marketplace—a device maker that wants to provide customers with a credible alternative to Apple and Samsung mobile handsets. Better yet, the company argues, it wants to save customers money on smartphones while providing "unrivaled" customization, privacy and security.
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    3 - The Software Experience Starts With Cyanogen
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    The Software Experience Starts With Cyanogen

    In order for Wileyfox to differentiate itself, the company decided to go with Cyanogen OS, an offshoot of Android, rather than the pure Google option. The decision allows the Wileyfox handsets to come with a slightly different experience than competitors and, perhaps most importantly, gives customers more control over their privacy and security. For instance, Cyanogen OS as built into Wileyfox devices comes with the option to choose what system resources apps can access, as well tools to prevent spam and to turn on user authentication PINs for apps. Cyanogen could be an important selling point for Wileyfox.
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    4 - Wileyfox Going to Market With Storm, Swift
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    Wileyfox Going to Market With Storm, Swift

    Wileyfox will initially ship to the world two handsets named Storm and Swift. The Storm will target the higher end of the market with a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and a 5.5-inch display. The Swift comes with a lower-end processor, a 5-inch screen and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, compared with the Storm's 20-megapixel lens. Both devices have a similar, but not identical, design.
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    5 - There's OnePlus Flavor Here
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    There's OnePlus Flavor Here

    Apt comparisons are being made between Wileyfox and OnePlus. Wileyfox is taking a page out of OnePlus' book by attempting to win customers over with Cyanogen OS, the same Android flavor used in the OnePlus One, but not in the OnePlus 2. In addition, Wileyfox is hoping that a viral marketing campaign similar to the one that benefited OnePlus will ultimately catch buyers' eyes. It should be interesting to see if its own efforts work as well as those from OnePlus.
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    6 - Wileyfox Storm Stretching for the High End
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    Wileyfox Storm Stretching for the High End

    One could be forgiven for believing that Wileyfox isn't necessarily delivering a true high-end smartphone. After all, while the company is going with a nice Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset in the Storm, there are faster options available. It's perhaps also worth noting that the Storm launches with 32GB of storage and its display is full-HD, rather than 4K. Its brother, the Swift, is designed for the middle of the market, but one could argue that the Storm is hovering close to the midrange and won't keep pace with some of the top-tier smartphones available now.
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    7 - The Design Looks Awfully Familiar
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    The Design Looks Awfully Familiar

    Although Wileyfox tries to call attention to its handsets' design, saying that they deliver value and beauty, there isn't much to differentiate their look from any other handset on the market. The devices have a black front panel with curved edges and a prominent screen, a design that's awfully similar to other Android-based smartphones on the market. Whereas other vendors have tried to differentiate on design by offering leather back panels—in the case of LG—or metallic accents—in the case of Motorola—Wileyfox's design looks fairly vanilla.
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    8 - Dual-SIM Feature Could Help Sell Units
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    Dual-SIM Feature Could Help Sell Units

    As a U.K.-based company trying to appeal to customers all over the world, the addition of dual-SIM functionality in Wileyfox's handsets may be an important selling point. While Europe is on GSM mobile technology, Sprint and Verizon in the U.S. are still reliant upon CDMA. By offering dual-SIM, Wileyfox devices will enable users to travel the world without needing to worry about connecting with different carrier technologies.
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    9 - Google Services Keep Wileyfox Close to the Mainstream
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    Google Services Keep Wileyfox Close to the Mainstream

    Wileyfox may have decided against Google's Android by opting for Cyanogen, but the company hasn't strayed too far from Google. In fact, one could argue that Wileyfox is attempting to appeal to the mainstream by offering Google services on Cyanogen. After all, the platform comes with the Google Play marketplace, Gmail, Chrome and other Google services.
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    10 - Wileyfox Gets Clever About Extending Battery Life
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    Wileyfox Gets Clever About Extending Battery Life

    Wileyfox has come up with a rather interesting way to power its handsets on-the-go. While the devices come with nonremovable batteries, the company is selling a Wileyfox Premium Powerbank that users can bring with them on the road. After plugging their devices into the Powerbank, they can rely on its 10,000mAh built-in battery to deliver extra charge after the 2,500mAh battery in the Storm is depleted. Armed with a Storm and Powerbank, users can essentially get five times the battery life they would typically get with a Storm alone.
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    11 - The Pricing Is All About Market Disruption
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    The Pricing Is All About Market Disruption

    Wileyfox's best chance of disrupting the market is by selling its handsets unlocked at low prices. The Wileyfox Storm will retail for 199 pounds (about $308) and the Swift for 129 pounds (about $200) when they launch later this year in the U.K. At those prices, the Wileyfox handsets are at the lower end of the pricing range, while still offering decent features. Wileyfox is hoping that the pricing strategy—which is similar to that from OnePlus—will attract more customers. But it will be interesting to see if cheaper pricing will actually translate to stronger sales. Wileyfox will kick off sales in the U.K. but hasn't disclosed whether it intends to test the waters in the North American market.
 

A new U.K. smartphone maker wants to carve out a niche in the mobile device market. The company, called Wileyfox, is taking some of its cues from China-based OnePlus by trying to gain traction in the Android market by offering a level of security and features commonly found in smartphones. But unlike OnePlus, Wileyfox has yet to prove itself, and in the coming weeks and months, the fledgling handset maker that's trying to project an "edgy" image will need to find a way to stand out in a market dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung. The effort won't be simple, and the task may prove to be too challenging. But in its first appearance on the mobile scene, the company has made a splash. Now it will need to show why its mobile products really can be disruptive and coax consumers to go with its devices rather than those from big, entrenched competitors. This slide show will raise the curtain on Wileyfox on eWEEK and will examine why the company believes it can be successful in a crowded smartphone market.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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