LeEco has officially landed in the US.
The Chinese company has finished holding its US launch event in San Francisco, where it unveiled a range of new products for American consumers. Here's everything you need to know about the company, its live-streamed event, and all the new stuff it unveiled.
What is LeEco?
LeEco (short for "Le Ecosystem") is the Beijing-based company that bought TV maker Vizio in 2016 for $2 billion. The Chinese tech giant, which actually started as a web video streaming company called LeTV in 2004, went public on the Shenzhen Stock exchange in 2010, renamed itself last year, and has been hyping its official launch in the US for about a month. Some of its products will be available in the US shortly.
LeEco makes and sells connected TVs, smartphones, dash cameras, electric bicycles, headphones, VR headsets, and more. They all run Google’s Android OS and usually cost in the mid-to-low range. The company has also invested in autonomous cars and recently unveiled an electric car concept called LeSee. According to the LA Times, LeEco even has a 70-percent investment in Chinese car-hailing startup Yidao Yongche.
LeEco has been moving into Silicon Valley ahead of its US launch. It bought a massive office complex in Santa Clara and plans to hire 12,000 people in the Bay Area, although it currently has around 500 employees in San Jose. LeEco also recently acquihired Adam Goodman, the former president of Paramount Film Group. He is overseeing the US original content division for LeVision, LeEco’s entertainment business.
Little is known about LeEco's plans for the US. It might try to be a Xiaomi, which sells everything from hoverboards to laptops, or it could be like Huawei, which tries to sell premium devices at an affordable price. But, right now, it's lacking brand recognition, so it'll be interesting to see what the company unveils on 19 October and whether it can leverage Vizio’s retail partnerships to sell products in places like Walmart.
When was LeEco's US launch?
LeEco live streamed its US launch on 19 October at 10 am PST. You could join the livestream at www.leeco.com, www.lemall.com, on LeEco social channels, and through the PlutoTV App on Vizio SmartCast and Vizio VIA+ TVs. We've embedded the live-stream video above.
What did LeEco announce?
LeEco uMax85 and Super4 4K TVs
LeEco unveiled a lineup of TVs sets for the US market. These aren't Vizio TVs but rather from a separate LeEco-branded TV division.
There are four new TVs in total, and they all run Android TV. The most notable one is the uMax85. It's an 85-inch 4K TV that features HDR (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision), Harman Kardon speakers, Dolby Digital Plus, 4GB of RAM, 64GB SSD storage, and a quad-core ARM GPU and CPUs.
The other three TVs are different versions of its Super4 TV line in the US: the X43 Pro, X55, the X65, all of which will come with support for 4K and HDR, as well as Harman Kardon speakers, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of SSD storage, and quad-core ARM GPUs and CPUs.
The uMax85 will cost $4,999 when it's released, while the Super4 X43 Pro will cost $649, and the X55 and X65 will cost $899 and $1,399, respectively. All four TVs will be available from 2 November on Lemall.com and come with user-feedback rebate specials.
LeTV Box U4 4K set-top box
LeEco is also bringing the LeTV Box U4 set-top box to the US. It features 4K playback, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of local storage, and the ability to access both Chinese and international entertainment apps. The LeTV Box U4 will cost $79 when it launches in November.
Le Pro 3 flagship phone
LeEco announced that its first smartphone in the US will be the Le Pro3, a flagship phone that launched internationally in September. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 5.5-inch display, and a 16-megapixel camera. Like iPhone, it ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack. It will cost $399 when it launches in the US on 2 November.
Le S3 mid-tier phone
LeEco also announced the mid-tier Le S3. It's an Android phone that features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM, USB-C, a 3,000mAh battery, 5.5-inch Full HD display, Quick Charge 3.0, 16-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a fingerprint scanner. It will cost $249 from 2 November and can be bought in grey, rose gold, or gold.
LeEco Super Bike
LeEco will bring its Android-enabled “Super Bike” to the US. The bike features a 30-speed shift, on-board lighting, a fingerprint-scanner, built-in alarm and location tracker, and a 4-inch display touchscreen between the handlebars. The company hasn’t said when the bike will be for sale in the US, nor how much it will cost, but the Chinese version currently retails between $800 to $6,000.
LeEco ExploreVR headset
LeEco showed off a mobile VR headset called ExploreVR. It draws power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 inside LeEco's Le Pro 3. It features a "premium memory foam lining", high precision aspheric lenses, a proximity sensor that auto-pauses playback when you take it off, and a 10,000Hz IMU sensor that reduces head-tracking latency. It'll launch 2 November at an unknown price.
Is that it?
LeEco is also launching a new video-streaming service in the US. It will launch with content from Showtime, Lionsgate, MGM, Sling, Vice, The Travel Channel, Awesomeness TV, Machinima, Mitú, Magnolia Pictures, and others. We don't yet know how the service will work, what devices it will be available, when it will launch, or how much it will cost. We expect to hear more in the coming months.
Self-driving LeSee Pro car
LeSEE Pro, LeEco’s self-driving, electric concept car, was supposed to debut at the event, but Transformers director Michael Bay, who is using the car in his upcoming Transformers 5 film, couldn’t make his scheduled appearance, according to LeEco chairman Jia Yueting. The company did’t say anything more on the car, including how much it costs or when it would be available.
Want to know more?
Check out Pocket-lint's LeEco hub for other news.