Qiku, the new smartphone maker from China, has finally unveiled its first products to take on Xiaomi. Featuring a device in the three main price points, the company is attempting for a quick run out of the blocks.
Four months ago, Qiku was established as a smartphone brand born out of a partnership between China’s third-largest smartphone maker, Coolpad and Chinese security firm Qihoo 360. Immediately, it went about claiming bold things, like saying it has what it takes to take on Xiaomi. At the announcement of its three devices, there appears to be quite some confusion regarding the actual names of these devices.
GizChina says they are called the Qiku Youth Edition, Ultimate and Exclusive Edition. Android Headlines states that the three phones are actually called Prime, Flagship and Youth. In another twist, PR Newswire – presumably the best bet – claims that the flagship model is called the Q Terra, while the entry-level edition is called the Q Luna…and from what we can see, no official name for the mid-range model.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk about the devices. Despite being an entry-level device, the Q Luna is actually pretty solid. Just take a look at the specs: 5.5-inch Full HD display, 13MP rear and 8MP front cameras, 2GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery. The only question mark is whether the choice of processor was a wise one: the Youth Edition is powered by a MediaTek MT6753 processor. At 1,199 Yuan (about RM785), however, this is one hell of a package.
The mid-range unnamed Qiku smartphone is said to be only available in China. Like the Luna, its spec sheet is more than respectable. For 1,999 Yuan (about RM1,310), you get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core chip like in the LG G4, 3GB of RAM, a 6-inch Full HD display, 16GB internal storage, 3,700mAh battery, an 8MP front camera and two 13MP rear camera sensors, which is said to produce “high-quality images in low-light conditions”.
Finally, there’s the Q Terra. The flagship smartphone is naturally packed with the best hardware available: 6-inch 2K display, Snapdragon 810 chip with 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, 3,700mAh battery, 8MP front camera and two 13MP rear camera sensors.
What’s unique about these three phones is how Qiku creates a sense of synergy between all three models. All of them sport a fingerprint scanner located at the back of the device, and support up to 128GB microSD cards. Both the mid-range and flagship device share the same dimensions and weight (157.6×79.8×8.6mm, 185g). And, the three devices are all made of a metal alloy called magnalium, and are available in two colours (silver and gold).
Furthermore, all Qiku phones run on 360 OS, an Android ROM based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. 360 OS is very different from other Chinese Android ROMs, with a strong emphasis on security – not surprising considering its roots. For instance, mobile payments use a dedicated VPN built into the OS. All pre-installed apps can be uninstalled. All Android apps can be used, and besides the Qiku app store, users can access any Android app store. For those who use WeChat, 360 OS allows the use of two accounts simultaneously.
Besides that, Qiku has a lot of emphasis on the security of the device. There’s a kill switch that disables the device remotely, without requiring the phone to be connected to the Internet. Finally, Qiku is calling its devices the first “anti-fraud, anti-harassment, anti-theft” smartphones. The company is bundling a free insurance package of up to 120,000 Yuan (about RM78,650) per year to cover instances of fraud, theft or robbery.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect is this: Qiku is not focused only on the Chinese market. While the phones will launch in China first, it will quickly expand into the two other large emerging markets, India and Indonesia. Given the accelerated speed at which Qiku is moving, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the company expands its reach into other South East Asian markets as well.