Kazam wants to challenge the status quo with affordable Android smartphones
Kazam wants to shake-up smartphones in Europe, James Atkins, CMO and co-founder at the fledgling company, told us today, saying that it was time to move on from the trend of "innovation for innovation's sake," and focus on what actually matters.
Founded in 2013, the new European phone company announced its second range of mobile phones 6 months after its first devices were launched.
You may not have heard of Kazam in the UK, although the company has made inroads in Europe, with Atkins telling us that Poland has seen great success since launch, and positive signs coming from France, where sales began in January 2014.
Kazam is yet to launch in the UK because before that can happen the devices need to go through network approval. "We're working on getting approval," said Atkins, but was unable to confirm a date we'll see them on the streets, as approval is in the hands of the networks.
Kazam is private-equity funded, which is where the cash comes from for this smartphone newcomer, and the devices are being manufactured in China, with ambitions to sell devices suitable for each different territory it operates in across Europe.
Pricing is key, however, and although Kazam hasn't put a price on SIM free handsets in the UK, Atkins today said you could expect to pay around £70 for a 4.5-inch device from the Trooper range, or £130-140 for the 6-inch phablet.
There are a wide range of devices currently, split into different families. The Trooper devices are entry-level dual-core phones, with an MTK chipset and 5-megapixel camera. They will be available in 4, 4.5, 5 and 6-inch sizes, although you won't necessarily be able to get all device sizes in all regions.
Moving up a step, the Thunder line rolls in with quad-core chipsets, again from MTK, however there is an LTE Thunder model which a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset.
The 5-inch Thunder handsets, which we suspect will be the most popular, will come with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution display, 1GB of RAM, but only 4GB of internal storage. There's a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel camera on the front.
At the top is the Tornado, recently announced, with an 1.7GHz octo-core chipset, in 5 and 5.5-inch sizes, with prices around £300.
With prices yet to be officially confirmed, and the devices we saw being pre-production, it's difficult to gauge exactly where these handsets will sit alongside established rivals. They will all land with stock Android however. We saw a number of different software versions, with the Trooper sitting on Android 4.2 and the Thunder on Android 4.3. The Tornado is said to launch with Android 4.4.
It's not just about low-priced hardware however. Kazam is looking to differentiate, not by adding a skin over Android, but by offering wider benefits, such free 2-year display insurance, promising to replace your screen within 72 hours should you break it.
There's also going to be customer service remote access, so if you have a problem with your device, such as settings that aren't working, you'll be able to phone up and get help straight away.
Atkins was keen to stress that he doesn't want Kazam to be known as the "customer care" brand, per se, but challenging the status quo is of core importance and supporting devices is core to that strategy.
With devices like the Motorola Moto G driving down prices and an increasing interest in more affordable handsets offering a great performance, Kazam's aims are certainly ambitious.
"We're here to stand up and be counted," concluded Atkins bullishly.
We're expecting to be seeing devices soon so we can exactly what the hardware delivers.