Pepsi Brand Name to Appear on Smartphones in China

The company plans to license its name and logo to decorate smartphones and get its name in front of more consumers.

Pepsi, smartphones, mobile phones, licensing, China

Pepsi will offer smartphones in China that are emblazoned with its name and logo in an effort to increase brand traction in one of the world's most populous nations.

Pepsi will not actually make the smartphones, but will instead have them built and adorned with its logo by third-party smartphone makers, according to an Oct. 12 story by Reuters. Under the arrangement, Pepsi will offer a range of mobile phones and themed accessories through a licensing partner in the next few months, the story reported.

"Available in China only, this effort is similar to recent globally licensed Pepsi products which include apparel and accessories," a Pepsi spokeswoman told Reuters in an email. "The spokeswoman did not name the licensing partner or give any further details about the phone."

No details were mentioned about whether Pepsi plans to market branded mobile phones in other nations, including the United States.

Potential technical details of the first Pepsi phone model were reported in an Oct. 11 story by Mobipicker, which said that the device will be called the Pepsi P1 and will include "decent but not high-end specs." The story said the phone is slated to be unveiled in China on Oct. 20.

The first Pepsi smartphone is rumored to include a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6592 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 5MP front camera and a 3,000mAh battery. The phone, which is rumored to sell for about $205, will be running on the Android 5.1 operating system.

By licensing its name and logo, Pepsi would join a long line of other companies that put their name on a product while leaving its manufacturing and sales to others.

In July, Nokia, which sold its smartphone division to Microsoft in April 2014 for $7.1 billion, announced that it will again get into the smartphone business by designing and licensing them to third-party manufacturers, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Rumors about such a move actually began in April, but Nokia initially denied the reports.

Nokia will again get into smartphones, but because it sold its manufacturing, marketing and channel distribution capabilities to Microsoft, it will have to do it with the help of other companies that can build and distribute the devices for them, the story said.

This would not be the first time that Nokia looked at designing devices but left their manufacturing and distribution up to someone else. In November 2014, Nokia announced its first-ever Android tablet computer, the N1, which is built under license by a third-party device manufacturer, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The N1is being manufactured, distributed and sold by Taiwan's Foxconn.

The sale to Microsoft included a clause that prevents Nokia from re-entering the smartphone market until Q4 2016, so devices with the Nokia name will have to at least wait until then.

Before the Microsoft deal, Nokia was a Microsoft premier Windows Phone partner. Microsoft previously said it purchased Nokia's smartphone division to help the company narrow the gap between it and its rivals by offering affordable, entry-level mobile devices to customers. In October 2014, Microsoft announced that it was rebranding its Nokia nameplate as Microsoft Lumia, while moving away from the Nokia nameplate.

Since the acquisition, Microsoft's Lumia line has been having problems. The Lumia line of Windows-based phones, despite being generally well-received, has barely made a dent in unseating Android- and iOS-based smartphones from the top of the smartphone market. In July, Microsoft announced the layoffs of about 7,800 employees, mostly from its mobile phone business, after laying off some 18,000 workers last year.