Handset maker KAZAM offers smart aftercare services

Newcomer KAZAM is attempting to draw attention to its affordable smartphones and feature phones with a remote 'rescue' service, and free (one-time) cracked screen replacement.

In the frenzy of announcements coming out of this week's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, the big brand names have a considerable advantage: they have pedigree, and we want to know about their next moves. Less well-known companies, including startups, can struggle to be heard.

Relative newcomer KAZAM perhaps deserves a shoutout. Formed last year by a pair of ex-HTC executives, Michael Coombes and James Atkins, KAZAM may have what it takes to stand out in a crowded market. The company has just announced its second wave of smartphones, with some interesting angles.

KAZAM's Trooper2 6.0, a 6-inch dual-SIM Android 4.2.2-based phablet. Image: KAZAM.

A potential headline grabber is a six-inch 'phablet', the Trooper2 6.0, which will cost around £129 at launch. Yes, the specifications are low (including a 1.3GHz dual-core CPU and 512MB of RAM) in order to meet that price, but Atkins explained when we met that he believes not everyone wants blistering performance from a large-screen phone. In due course the market will tell whether he is right.

The market will also decide whether 'KAZAM Rescue' draws an audience. It's a novel service that provides contact centre staff on weekdays between 9am and 8pm, and at weekends between 10am and 6pm. Call between those hours with a handset problem and a fix can be applied by a technician who takes control remotely. If a fix isn't possible there and then, you'll need to send your handset off for repair.

The 5.5-inch Tornado2 5.5 has an eight-core MediaTek MT6592 processor. Image: KAZAM
KAZAM's Life range includes flip-style and candybar feature phones. Image: KAZAM

It's the kind of service that might attract first-time users or the technically wary. An interesting additional support feature is free replacement of your first cracked screen.

KAZAM launched three handset ranges (Trooper and Thunder Android smartphones and Life feature phones) just before Mobile World Congress, including an LTE phone (Thunder2 4.5L).

Then at MWC it announced another range incorporating eight-core processors: the Tornado2 5.5 and 5.0 are, like all of KAZAM's other Andoid offerings except the LTE handset, dual-SIM phones.

The Thunder2 range comprises two quad-core handsets, including the LTE phone mentioned above. The four Trooper2 handsets, including the six-inch phablet, are workhorse-type smartphones, while the quartet of Life feature phones includes two candybar and two flip-style handsets. The Life range runs a proprietary OS rather than Android.

A small number of KAZAM handsets is available to buy right now and more will appear from the new ranges over the coming months.

The rhetoric of providing "quality phones at disruptive price points" may not be unique, and the proof of the pudding will only come when these handsets are tested and measured against others trying to achieve the same goal. But maybe KAZAM has hit on a neat selling point with its aftercare offer.