Wileyfox Sparks new life into smartphone market with “killer priced” range

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New trio of Spark devices go on sale from next month. British manufacturer is targeting two million sales by next year, up from 250,000 in its first

Wileyfox has today unveiled its third, fourth and fifth smartphone devices in under a year, with the new Spark range.

The devices, the Spark, Spark+ and Spark X were described by co-founder and CEO Nick Muir as “killer products” at “killer prices” during the launch event held in London this morning (June 28).

Each handset follows the firm’s strategy in offering “high quality, high-specced” devices at lower prices when compared to its competitors. The first models, the Swift and Storm saw sales top 250,000 to date. It hopes to hit two million sales with the new range within the next 12 months.

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The Wileyfox Spark

Obsessed by quality 

“We are obsessed by quality,” Muir, pictured right, told the 200+ media representatives at The Sea Containers building, which overlooks the river Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral. “A year ago we were a small team with some very big ideas. We spotted some gaps in the market in terms of SIM-free, movement away from carrier contracts.

“The idea that a handset needs to cost as much as laptop seems insane. We wanted to fix that. We launched two products the Swift and the Storm and with the new range, we plan on hitting the two million mark by this time next year.”

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Co-founder and CEO Nick Muir speaking at launch

 

 

The “sleek” and “lightweight” Spark (pictured, right) goes on sale in the next couple of weeks. Features include dual-SIM, 4G (featured on all models), with an eight megapixel front and rear camera, 8GB memory (1GB Ram), a five-inch (720p) HD screen and a quad-core MediaTek processor. It costs £89.99 and will be available in a few weeks.

The mid range Spark+ also includes a five-inch screen (720p), plus an improved 13 megapixel camera (8MP front facing) and twice as much memory at 16GB (2GB Ram). It costs £114.99.

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Left to right: Spark X, Spark+ and Spark

Both the above devices include a removable 2,200mAh battery, and are expandable to 32GB memory with MicroSD.

The high end model, the Spark X includes similar features the Spark +, but with a larger 5.5 inch screen (720p), 16GB memory (up to 32GB expandable) and a larger 3,000mAh battery. It costs £129.99.

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Left to right: Spark X, Spark+ and Spark

As with its predecessors, the Spark also runs on the Cyanogen OS, updated to OS 13, Android 6.0. This provides privacy control over data with shared Android apps, full UI customisation and the elimination of bloatware to free up storage space and processing power.

A range of accessories will also be launched as the trio of handsets becomes available.

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“Cost and quality is key”

Muir added: “Our business model is the same today as it was at the beginning it’s about taking the best of worldwide components, testing them thoroughly and putting them together into a package that is incredibly cost effective. There is a thinking globally that you need to have five to 15 per cent market share in order to provide something that is cost effective.  You simply don’t. What you need to have is a low cost.

“But cost isn’t everything. You need to hug that sweet spot, it’s about finding the right software and what a handset should do.”

The devices are available for preorder now, with the Spark shipping in the next couple of weeks, whilst the + and X will be available from August.

“They are killer products at killer prices”, added Muir.

Award winning  

The latest launch concludes a busy first year for the British firm, having first launched last August with a promise to “disrupt” the smartphone market by differentiating itself through a mix of design and “top tier” features.

Its debut handsets, the dual SIM Swift (£129) and Storm (£199), went on sale SIM free last September and October to high acclaim, with sales surpassing 250,000 to date, Wileyfox claims.

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The brand has been well received in the market, with the manufacturer signing major deals with leading retailers such as Tesco, Expansys, Argos and Clove.

In October last year, leading distributor Exertis became an official and exclusive supplier for the manufacturer, later claiming to have seen “significant” sales via online channels – where a high proportion of its devices are sold. These include Amazon, where both the Swift and Storm devices are rated as 4½ out of five, and 3½ respectively with user ratings.

Set up by by Daniel Readman – who also founded rival KAZAM – the firm has since expanded into international markets, including Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Staff numbers at the firm have risen from just two a year ago to 27 today. The backbone of the business, is built on industry experience – many of which have a background at Motorola.

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In addition to former Motorola UK and Ireland general manager UK, there is former Microsoft and Motorola marketing manager Victoria Denman, who is chief marketing officer. Both helped to co-found the business.

In January it also added former Motorola account director Richard Jenkins, who claims he “jumped at the chance” to become its new vice president of business development for Europe, quitting his role after five years.

Wileyfox has also won a number of awards for its devices, including the 2016 Mobile News Award for Challenger Manufacturer.

 

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