While mega names like Samsung and Apple still dominate the smartphone world, another upstart is trying to play David to those techno-Goliaths and fund its own flagship phone via Kickstarter. The Ubik Uno promises to deliver impressive specs at affordable prices, with an edge-to-edge display (horizontally) to boot.
Getting down to the guts of the Uno, which comes inside an aluminum one-piece frame, we find a 5.5-inch IPS 1,920 x 1,080 display under a piece of Gorilla Glass 3. But really making the hardware headlines in this device is its 64-bit MediaTek octa-core processor, clocked at 2.2 GHz and supported by 3 GB of RAM.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
At least on paper, the camera setup is nothing to sneeze at either, with a 20 megapixel autofocus-enabled, supposedly low-light capable rear shooter that also handles 4K and 30 fps video (as well as slow-motion, 120 fps footage at 720p). There's also a 5MP front-facing camera.
The Uno comes running stock Android Lollipop 5.1 (meaning no manufacturer UIs layered on top) with other features like a 3,100 mAh battery, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and 16 GB of storage that can be expanded with a MicroSD card up to 64 GB.
The company hasn't listed any size or weight specs. And unlike several recent flagship, the phone lacks a fingerprint sensor.
Ubik Mobile isn't releasing much info about itself other than being "an international team of engineers with over 15 years of experience creating cell phones all around the world," with teams in Seoul, South Korea and Shenzhen, China. That sounds fine and dandy, but crowdfunded projects always carry some degree of risk, and those with somewhat veiled identities don't necessarily add reassurance.
Either way, the company says it will sell the Uno exclusively online direct-to-consumers to keep costs down and avoid carrier requirements and bloatware. The 4G LTE Uno comes unlocked by default, and is GSM only.
Early Kickstarter backers can reserve an Uno for as little as US$280. The eventual expected retail price after the crowdfunding campaign is $345.
Another interesting part of Ubik's big idea comes after the Uno. The company says it plans to operate as a "community open source brand," which basically means it will use an online portal to poll its users and fans to determine what changes and improvements will go into the second-generation Ubik phone – assuming the company gets to that point.
Democratizing the phone design process seems like a noble endeavor, although in the long-term, perhaps modular options like Google's Project Ara that offer truly personalized handsets (if or when it makes it to market) will make more sense.
If all goes according to plan, the company plans on shipping to Kickstarter backers starting in September, and the mysterious firm describes its phone as "ready for production." With 44 days to go, the project has already raised 16 percent of its $200,000 goal.
For more, you can check out the Kickstarter pitch video below.