If you are miffed or you felt cheated when a smartphone brand promising better experiences through new user interfaces (UIs) failed to deliver, then good news is round the corner.
Bengaluru-based smartphone brand CREO, which launched its first smartphone -- CREO Mark 1 -- on Wednesday, claims that it will deliver “a new smartphone every month” based on incremental features on the phone which users will receive by what the company calls a “new and unique way” of delivering updates.
“With the hardware game engulfing the market, we deceided to build something which could give new experiences to the user every month which will also include consumer demand and feedback,” Sai Srinivas Kiran G, CEO and co-founder of CREO, told HT adding that the new smartphone’s operating system, named Fuel OS, would be Android-forked with Lollipop at its base.
Android forking is the process of taking the source code of any version of the Android operating system (OS) and developing it independently to come up with a new piece of software or operating system.
Further explaining, Sai said that few of the features that CREO was looking to provide would be the first of its kind and absent from the latest Android OS. “Our aim is to innovate via software and hence we will provide features that will not be there in the best of Android OSes,” he said adding that “CREO’s OS will be one of the best in a period of 10 months”.
The company is also looking to sell its OS to other smartphone-makers. “The new Fuel OS is customised to work on most of hardware available and we are right now in talks with several Indian and South East Asian handset-makers to sell the same or form an integration,” the founder said giving HT an exclusive peek into some of the “cool” features of the OS.
One of the new features include a new indexing and search feature called ‘Sense’, which can be compared to the Spotlight Search of Apple. “The feature can be accessed from any screen of the phone (even when in other apps) unlike Spotlight Search which is only accessible from the home screen only,” Sai explained while giving a demonstration. Sense can also double up as a buddy for the user.
Also, the OS will come with a an app called Refuel which is like a central dashboard for the smartphone and the link between the consumer and the company. Refuel will have a separate account for every user and will provide updates to the OS, tips for new users, alert the user about new announcements and discussions going on in the CREO forums. It will also help in providing support for the user giving direct access to service centre numbers.
Other interesting features includes a built-in answering machine called Echo, a phone retriever, a messaging app that works somewhat like Truemessenger, dual max and easy OTP.
While Echo can record messages for free from callers helping users to always stay in touch with contacts, the dual Max feature for SIM Cards automatically chooses the SIM which is not on roaming for making calls and sending messages. It also has a smart forwarding feature. The Easy OTP feature automatically detects the OTP and copies to the clipboard of the phone. Users can simply choose the paste option and process the transaction.
The founder also demonstrated the ‘Retriever’ feature which he claimed is a highly needed feature in the country. The Retriever app in the OS helps the user locate his or her phone when lost. “We have programmed the phone’s driver in such a way that even if the phone is flashed, the app can send notifications to the old user (new phone number, time and location of the device) as soon as the new user inserts a SIM card in the device,” Sai explained adding that CREO had applied for a patent for the new technology.
He added that the company had no immediate plans of gaining windfall market share. “Currently we are focussing on building the brand and having a loyal consumer base,” Sai said giving no details about immediate sales target figures.
However, the company said that it has no plans of currently manufacturing its new smartphone in India and will import ready-to-sell packages devices from Shenzhen which were mostly produced in the month of March. The new Mark 1, priced at Rs. 19,999, comes with a MediaTek Helio X10 processor, quad-hD display, 21-megapixel rear camera and 8-megapixel front camera. The phone draws power from a 3,100 mAH battery and supports 4G-LTE.
The aggressive pricing of the phone, which will retail via Flipkart and CREO’s own website, is also expected to take on brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi.