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LeEco Make Play For Smartphone Market At US Launch

The Chinese company (pronounced “Lay-EEco”) rolled out a slew of consumer tech products aimed at helping it break into the Western market at their launch event this week.

Originally a streaming service similar to Netflix called LeTV, the company rebranded as LeEco earlier this year and has begun to roll out budget-to-mid-tier products in the smartphone, smartcar, VR, dash cam, headphones, TV and even electric bicycle categories.

LeEco bought US TV-maker Vuzix for $2 billion in July and is even producing a Matt Damon-fronted action movie, The Great Wall, due out in February.

In China, their business model involves selling their connected hardware ecosystem to customers at razor-thin margins and then selling them on addition subscription costs. It’s unknown at this time if their move into western markets will involve transplanting this strategy.

Research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that LeEco will ship 25 million smartphones worldwide in 2016, which would make it the world’s fastest-growing major smartphone vendor.

The newly announced Le Pro 3 handset looks more than up to the task of hitting that milestone.

It’s packing a Snapdragon 821 processor, 5.5-inch display, a 16-megapixel camera and Continual Digital Lossless Audio” technology that promises high quality audio through USB-C. All told, it’s a package not that different to Google’s new Pixel phone for the low price of $399 (which then becomes $299 thanks to a rebate).

The phone doubles the processing unit in LeEco’s Explorer VR. Similar in design to Samsung’s GearVR, LeEco are touting premium memory foam lining that moulds itself to the contours of your head and high precision aspheric lenses and 10,000Hz IMU sensor that’ll provide low-latency head-tracking. 

Both the headset and handset will hit the US market in early November.

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