Can Blu, a tiny Florida phone maker, beat Samsung?

Someone was reading The Verge and found this information on Blu and their new phones. What do you think?  Full article here.

UPDATE:  Here is the Blu phone on Amazon

One cheap, high-end, unlocked smartphone at a time

By David Pierce

DON’T MISS ANY STORIES FOLLOW THE VERGE

Blu Life View

 

Sammy Ohev-Zion starts our chat with an economics lesson. It costs every company about the same amount to manufacture a phone, he says — the price of an Nvidia processor and a Sharp display is consistent whether HTC, Nokia, or Motorola is signing the check. But those costs are only a small piece of the price you wind up paying when you walk into a Verizon store and buy that phone — which either costs upward of $500 or requires a hefty two-year contract. You’re also paying for Samsung’s nine-figure marketing budget, HTC’s HR department, or Sony’s huge New York City skyscraper. What if you could buy the same high-end phone from a company without all that cruft and overhead? How much would it cost?

Ohev-Zion, CEO of Blu Products, a relatively unknown manufacturer based in Miami, Florida, says it would cost $299. That’s how much the company’s latest flagship phone, the Blu Life One, costs unlocked from Amazon or a handful of other retailers. It’s a 5-inch HD phone with a 13-megapixel camera and stock Android 4.2 (save for a Blu wallpaper), in a thin and light body that appears to hold its own next to the Galaxy and Droid devices of the world. $299 also buys the Blu Life View, with a gigantic 5.7-inch HD display, a 12-megapixel camera, and even a 5-megapixel front camera. It’s not surprising that Blu’s phones bear more than a passing resemblance to the iPhone and a handful of Android devices, but neither is it an accident. Ohev-Zion and Blu are betting that people want a good phone, but that they want a cheap phone more than they want a Samsung phone.

‘THE SAME THING, CHEAPER’ IS A PRETTY PROVEN BUSINESS MODEL

There’s some evidence that Ohev-Zion’s confidence isn’t totally misplaced. Take Warby Parker, for instance: the companycircumvented an entrenched supply chain of designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers, and in doing so found a way to sell equally high-quality eyeglasses for a much lower price. Or consider Nicky Bronner, whose father’s connections helped him getUnreal Candy into CVS, Target, and elsewhere — he tweaked the formula of candies like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to only include natural ingredients, and found a huge and willing audience as soon as he had a place on shelves. Vizio may be Blu’s best analog, though. "Vizio is the #1-selling TV brand," Ohev-Zion says. "Why? Because people understand, ‘listen, it’s the same technology and I’m getting a much better value without the enormous, billions-of-dollars overhead.’" (Incidentally, Vizio seems to have noticed this too — the company announcedits first line of smartphones at CES.)

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But 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. A third of the company’s 300 employees are stationed around Latin America, where they’re selling both feature phones and smartphones to a region that is only slowly adopting mobile technology. But as Latin American phone use grows, so will Blu: "we’re in a supreme position" in the region, Ohev-Zion says. "We’re the only ones."

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