The Chinese software company and search engine Qihoo 360 (NYSE:QIHU) doesn’t want to let the upstart phone-maker Xiaomi get all the glory for making China’s cheapest quad-core smartphone – and so Qihoo is set to launch its own, for even cheaper, at an event tomorrow.
The quad-core Qihoo phone has already been teased in photos posted to social media by Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi (pictured above). And it has been priced at a rock-bottom 1,499 RMB (US$237) for what’s believed to be an unlocked device – that’s a good bit cheaper than Xiaomi’s upcoming Mi2 which has already been unveiled and will ship sometime next week for 1,999 RMB.
But Qihoo’s approach to its smartphones is quite different to Xiaomi’s. Qihoo doesn’t badge its phones and instead relies on its OEM partner – as seen with the company’s first Android-based smartphone, the dismally-named AK-47, which was manufactured by Huawei. And so the as yet unnamed Qihoo quad-core phone is made by a manufacturer that pretty much no-one has heard of before, called Deovo. It has a 1.5GHz Tegra 3 processor that has as many cores as cows have stomachs, and a 4.7-inch screen at 1280×720 resolution. It’ll run a fairly lightly customized version of Android 4.0, perhaps with a bunch of Qihoo’s apps pre-installed – such as its Android anti-virus apps and its mobile browser.
Other markings (pictured below) on the Qihoo device indicate that it’ll be a special for China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941), the nation’s biggest mobile telco, and so it must be a TD-SCDMA 3G phone – and so not compatible on China’s other two networks, or pretty much anywhere else in the world.
Xiaomi has sold just over three million of its first-generation budget Android smartphone, so it’ll be a tough task for any other Chinese manufacturer to usurp that kind of pulling power. Nonetheless, these kinds of well-localized and very attractively priced China-brand smartphones really ought to be worrying the likes of HTC and Samsung.