Buying a Christmas smartphone? Here are 8 quirky iPhone and Android alternatives to consider

Buying a Christmas smartphone? Here are 8 quirky iPhone and Android alternatives to consider

Summary: 2013 has seen several startups launch new smartphones, and while many can't keep up with Apple, Samsung, Nokia and other OEMs on specs, they all manage to bring something unique.

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TOPICS: Smartphones, Android
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  • YotaPhone

    Launched last week by a unit of Russian telecoms company Yota, Yota Devices, the YotaPhone became Russia's first homegrown smartphone.

    Like Jolla and Oppo, specs take a backseat to differentiation, which in Yota's case takes shape in two displays: an LCD screen on the front and an e-ink screen on the back. Images like maps or documents can be saved to the e-ink screen, and the device will keep displaying them even on a flat battery. Widgets like the clock, battery level or notifications can also be placed there.

    Yota's dual-screen prototype captured attention at this year's CES, but while the concept still impresses, Yota's implementation of the e-ink display in the finished product appears to need further work, according to ZDNet's sister site, CNET.  

    But, as Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov said at the release of the YotaPhone: "This is YotaPhone 1.0. Expect other big and new things to follow."

    The next iteration is expected to arrive in late 2014. 

    Cost: €499 ($688)

    Specs: The 4.3-inch YotaPhone has 720x1280 LCD main screen, while the back is a 360x640 EPD grayscale display. It has a 13-megapixel main camera and one-megapixel front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, a 1,800mAh battery, FM radio, and LTE in the 800/1800/2600 bands. The YotaPhone runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

    Available: Russia, Austria, France, Spain, and Germany via yotaphone.com and in stores in December in Russia and Germany.

    By early 2014 it is expected to be available in 20 markets, including the UK, but not the US.

    Hails from: Russia

    Image: Yota Devices

  • Canvas Turbo A250

    Micromax has been making waves in India with its reasonably affordable and well-specced Android smartphones, the latest of which is the Canvas Turbo A250, a five-inch display smartphone running Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean which comes pre-installed with BlackBerry Messenger.

    Local media reports claim Micromax is headed to Russia this month and if its launch there goes well, it may spread its wings to the rest of Europe. ZDNet has asked the company for a confirmation of its Russian and European plans.

    Cost: 19,990 rupees ($324)

    Specs: The five-inch Canvas Turbo A250 has a full HD LCD screen with 1920x1080 resolution, with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, a 2,000mAh battery, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a five-megapixel front-facing camera.

    Available: India.

    Hails from: India

    Image: Micromax

  • Geeksphone Revolution

    Geeksphone, the maker of early Firefox OS developer phones Peak and Keon, recently announced it was working on a new device called Peak+ that promised to be more powerful than Firefox OS smartphones on the market.

    That is, until insurmountable troubles at its Asian suppliers over the past few months forced it to cancel manufacturing. With Peak+ off the table, the Madrid-based company plans to turn its attention to a new handset it's calling 'Revolution'.

    Not much is known about the Revolution yet, however it appears it may run an Intel chip. Geeksphone released a video stating "This is what we are working on, but now with 4.8-inch screen", which showed an Intel Firefox OS phone outperforming one running on a Qualcomm ARM processor.

    Also worth noting is that Geeksphone smartphones aren't officially running Firefox OS, since only devices sold by carriers can use the brand, such as the LG Fireweb, Alcatel OneTouch Fire, and ZTE Open sold by the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Telenor. Instead, Geeksphone developer phones are running Boot2Gecko.

    Cost: expected to be around €149 ($205), the price of the Peak+.

    Specs: To be confirmed.

    Hails from: Spain.

    Image: Geeksphone

Topics: Smartphones, Android

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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14 comments
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  • Quechua Phone

    What carrier or is it unlocked?
    ArchieK
  • NO MORE!!!!!

    No more of these galleries which reload the page for each succeeding page.

    Either do it all on one page or maybe two or three pages, but for Pete's sake, please stop these infernal galleries. I know this separates individual items from each other but a line or maybe three asterisks would do just as well.

    If you insist on separate pages, please make a .pdf file available for download. Those are easy to make. Just prepare your text and photos in a text-handling program (Jarte makes an excellent one), save it, then save it again as a .pdf with the help of Nitro or Nitro Pro, the easiest .pdf-maker program to use. If the resulting layout does not quite please you, you can either change the pdf directly in Nitro, or make major changes in Jarte and re-save as a .pdf.

    Thank you for listening.
    bart001fr
    • ...............

      They won't its how they get site hits. Its honestly a very dishonest way to earn hits but I guess the site must be struggling if this is how low they have to stoop and basically cripple their site.Makes them look like amateur morons really.
      Fletchguy
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
    • the Android app...

      and probably iOS, app handle the multiple pages well - just swipe through the images, and the next page pops up. Just letting you know :)
      Andrew Hargrave
      • except the Android app...

        doesn't look like it handles comments very well
        frylock
        • haha

          yep. it posts slowly and you can hit the post button multiple times...
          Andrew Hargrave
  • non-Android?

    the title claims "quirky iPhone and Android alternatives" which could read as quirky versions of iPhones and Androids, yet there are no quirky versions of the iPhone, so we must read it as "quirky alternatives TO iPhones and Androids"

    However, out of 8 phones, 5 ARE Android, and two are not available so you really shouldn't be considering them if you are "Considering buying a Christmas smartphone"

    The Jolla on the first pic is the only phone here that fits the title of the article.
    Mytheroo