Meet the cheap, stylish smartphones backed by ex-Apple CEO John Sculley

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Obi Worldphone’s first smartphones are here.
Photo: Obi Worldphone
Obi Worldphone's first smartphones are here. Photo: Obi Worldphone
Obi Worldphone’s first smartphones are here. Photo: Obi Worldphone

Backed by ex-Apple CEO John Sculley, Obi Worldphone is a startup company that’s hoping to shake up the affordable Android market with two new devices that combine stylish designs and decent specifications with even more attractive price tags.

Meet the Obi Worldphone SF1 and SJ1.5, which start at as little as $129.

The SF1 is the most appealing device in this duo, with midrange specifications that can curb your cravings for a pricey flagship. Alongside its 5-inch 1080p display that’s covered in Gorilla Glass 4, the device packs a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor, a 3,000 mAh battery, and Dolby sound.

Obi's SF1. Photo: Obi Worldphone
Obi’s SF1. Photo: Obi Worldphone

The SF1 also boasts a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 camera, 4G LTE connectivity, and Qualcomm Quick Charge technology — and it comes in two flavors: 16GB of storage with 2GB of RAM that’s priced at $199, and 32GB of storage with 3GB of RAM that’s priced at $249.

If you’re on an even tighter budget, then there’s the $129 SJ1.5, which also has a 5-inch display, albeit with a lower 720p resolution. That’s combined with a 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6580 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, and an 8-megapixel camera.

The SJ1.5. Photo: Obi Worldphone
The SJ1.5. Photo: Obi Worldphone

Both devices sport affordable but attractive designs, which appear to be inspired by Nokia handsets like the MeeGo-powered N9. The SJ1.5, which is instantly recognizable for its curved bottom and flat top, is manufactured from polycarbonate, while the SF1 employs a fiberglass shell.

Sculley, who led Apple between 1983 and 1993, has been keen to emphasize the design and high-end components — the Qualcomm procoessor, Sony camera, and Dolby speakers — packed into the first Obi Worldphone devices, and says the company will not compromise on quality.

“Obi Worldphone is a design-led company with beautiful, authentic, Silicon Valley-original design,” Sculley says in the video below. “We have no compromise in our cameras, Dolby-quality sound — all the things people expect at the high-end, delivered at the greatest possible value.”

Both the SF1 and the SJ1.5 will initially go on sale in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Pakistan, Turkey and India starting in October.