Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley's Obi smartphone brand coming to India soon


When we first heard about John Sculley headlining an effort to launch a new smartphone brand in India, we must admit to being a bit sceptical. The former Apple CEO was said to have hired top talent from the Indian smartphone industry, but was going to be playing in a tough price point. The brand whose devices would be in the Rs 5,000 – Rs 15,000 price bracket was clearly in for some rough competition.

 

And now we have more information about Sculley’s plans and a name for the upcoming contender in the smartphone market. CNBC TV18 has revealed in a Facebook post that Sculley’s brand will be called Obi and the first devices to be launched will be priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000. While Sculley is the big name behind the venture, former Micromax and HTC top exec Ajay Sharma will be leading the business in India.

 

The post revealed other details. Sculley was quoted as saying, “Hope to sell a million units, turn profitable in 5 months.” That’s highly ambitious in a market that’s swamped with similarly priced devices.

 

Obi will launch smartphones “bundled with valued added services” and is looking to invest $20 million to push for growth. Gross margins on the devices will be in the region of 20 percent, due to a "frugal expense model." Finally, Sculley was quoted as saying he’s “very bullish on growth in India, (and) will continue to invest.”

 

We are glad to see that Sculley promises value-addition right from the beginning, something the likes of Gionee and Oppo seemed to have forgotten about. But since firm details about Obi remain scarce, we can do not much but wait.


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