Design-conscious Verzo Kinzo Android phone rolled out: challenges the “big ones”
Most of you probably have never heard about the Kinzo, an Android handset made by Czech-American Verzo, a newcomer to the smartphone scene, but the Kinzo definitely has the design to turn some eyes. It also runs on heavily customized Android Froyo in an attempt to be different and lure you into spending some $459 (420 euro). That’s the off-contract price of the Kinzo which is being sold via the company’s website.
The biggest idea behind Verzo’s handset however is not just the design. Dubbed a “community-driven smartphone,” it comes with TellMe, a special app that allows you to communicate with the people who made it, and the most requested changes are promised to appear in software updates. That alone seems like a huge promise, but we’re yet to see how the company delivers on it.
When it comes to pure specs, the Kinzo is mid-of-the-road and won’t surprise you with groundbreaking stuff. The Kinzo has a 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive display and there’s a solid single-core 1GHz TI OMAP3630 processor and 512MB of RAM. When it comes to connectivity, you’re treated with quad-band GSM supports and tri-band UMTS, along with Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth. A 5-megapixel auto-focus rear camera and a VGA front snapper round up the package.
The make it or break it feature we’re still looking forward to know about is support for the Android Market. We’ll update you on that as soon as we have the information, but in the meantime check out the promo video and sweet PR talk for all the details below.
+- Press Release
Let's stand up against the big ones. Together.
Convinced that the world needs a change from time to time and that the smaller ones who tend to be perceived as weak and irrelevant sometimes need to stand up against the big, the VERZO is coming to the market with its first smartphone called Kinzo. Since the very beginning we wanted to create a phone that would be open to its owners at least as much as the Google Android OS is open to its community. Based on this open source software we wanted to build a phone that would not be the slimmest, the best in performance or the most expensive, but to create a phone that would go its own way and never leave it.
This way is based on differentiation from the great and seemingly untouchable brands by original design and most of all by active communication with clients. We do not want to develop and sell VERZO in the common way: Here you have the new generation of a phone, it's the best, the most amazing, buy it and for the love of god, leave us alone! We too have our vision which is represented by the Kinzo model, but we also respect and value the opinions of our customers more than anything else.
That is the reason why we are starting the sale of our first model of a smartphone, whose parameters might make the big brands smile for now, but only until you understand our message: The Kinzo is coming to the market with a carefully selected mix of hardware, software, accessories and price, all of which gives you enough space to affect its future development. Together with the community we shall fill the Kinzo and all later VERZO models with widgets, applications and other tweaks to get VERZO to a place on the market where there will be no disdain. Come and build a new brand of smartphones with us.
VERZO and Kinzo in questions and answers
What was supposed to be mentioned in our standpoints, philosophy and world view can be found in the introduction and in our first press release. There is no use in wasting words and using empty phrases, so let us give our first product – the Kinzo smartphone – space to speak for itself. All the technical, practical and other important information can therefore be found in the next paragraphs in the form of questions and answers. So let's get started:
Question 1: Who is behind VERZO?
On the top of the pyramid is an American company called VERZO TECHNOLOGY LLC. This is the founding company for VERZO Technology s.r.o. – a company based in Prague, Czech Republic. If therefore we say that the VERZO project is a Czech-American one, it is probably the best name for it. The VERZO Technology s.r.o company supervised the development of the design of the phone and the VERZO GUI, and is currently managing the production process and forming the distribution strategy. The VERZO project involved top designers, developers, graphic designers and managers, who have utilised their long experience in their respective fields and brought dynamics and courage to the project.
Only the design of the Kinzo was done outside the VERZO – in the Novague design studio. The aim of the VERZO TECHNOLOGY, LLC is to enter the smartphone market, develop and broaden the product base and become publicly traded company on the American stock exchange.
Question 2: What are the parameters of VERZO Kinzo?
This question can be answered simply: Optimal. Kinzo is not a smartphone that would like to look down on others, boast about how many cores its processor has, how many megapixels the cameras have, how the display is the brightest with the best resolution and so on. The hardware was chosen so it does not limit its users in any aspect, but also not to promise things that cannot be delivered. We wanted to avoid the situation when you would be in need of a processor with better performance, when you would be limited by the size or resolution of the display, or when you would be missing some core feature. At the same time, we did not want to create a smartphone that would be too complicated to use, its battery life too short, but would be full of cores and cameras, and you would not get any accessories except for a charger and a display cleaning cloth worth a few cents.
VERZO Kinzo Specifications:
• OS: Google Android 2.2.
• Processor: 1GHz
• Size: 131,6x72,3x12,3mm (height|width|depth)
• Weight: 155g (with battery)
• Display size: 4.3"
• Display type: TFT, Capacitive Multi-touch screen
• Display resolution: 800x480 pixels
• Camera: 5Mpix (back), VGA (front)
• Battery: SONY Li-Ion 1530 mAh
• Internal memory: 512 MB + 8GB Micro SDHC memory card included (Kinzo supports memory cards up to 32 GB)
Question 3: Who is our VERZO Kinzo's competition?
First of all – we are not going to compete with an iPhone. For one, Apple with its current iPhone has quite a head start in development and funding. Also, Apple is mainly trying to appeal to people who put style, design and prestige first. And finally, it is not an android-based device. We think that we should compete with smartphones, which have something in common, therefore VERZO belongs more to the company of smartphones like: Sony Ericsson Xperia ARC, HTC Desire HD, Motorola Milestone, LG Optimus 2X, Nexus One, HTC Desire S, etc. In comparison with these, VERZO Kinzo can offer mostly matching parameters for the same or a slightly lower price, with an extremely rich offering of accessories, free of charge.
Our goal at this time is not to enter the battle for more cores, brightest display or the best camera. We understand that the users are looking for a technologically advanced device, however, we refuse to accept that the quality of a good smartphone should be based only on the number of pixels or the quantity of cores in the processor. In other words – single core processor of 1GHz can many times do a better service than its n-core colleague. Our journey leads through step-by-step advances in parameters, the development of the community and additional widgets.
Question 4: What is included in the price of VERZO Kinzo?
We would like to say that we wanted to make the opening of a new package with the new smartphone into a grand occasion. Global brands have very strict shareholders, who affect the look of the packages not only for smartphones, but for electronics overall. VERZO does not want to give you a cheap carton box with mostly nothing in it. In our luxury package you will find more than just the phone – we also provide many original accessories!
The accessories include a luxurious genuine leather case made in the EU (we always want to have at least one item from the EU or the US in the pack), the smallest USB charger you have ever seen, a luxurious car charger from polished steel, quality headphones, an 8GB Micro SD card and a car holder for your Kinzo. With every new Kinzo you will also be given an offline Navigation app from Sygic with the maps of the whole EU or USA (based on your location). And this is still not all. Every new Kinzo comes with a stylish car holder.
Question 5: What is the price of VERZO Kinzo?
VERZO Kinzo is coming to the European market with the price of 420 EUR and for the customers in the USA the price is set to 459 USD. The price includes the Kinzo phone and the rich accessories as mentioned in the previous answer.
Question 6: How are the purchase and the shipping going to be processed?
The sales start on the 11th of November 2011 via the official VERZO online store accessible at www.verzo.com. In the next weeks we are planning to expand the sales to chosen local retailers and mobile providers. The list of our partners will be constantly updated and available at www.verzo.com. VERZO is shipping the Kinzo worldwide for free. You will not pay a single dollar or euro more.
Question 7: How will the customer service be carried out?
If you experience any difficulties with the Kinzo (which can happen even though we have strict quality control), we will try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. First you will be directed to our tech-support online, who will attempt to identify the problem. If the technician is not be able to resolve the problem, he will ensure that the device is picked up and sent off to a service and later returned to the customer. You will not have to trouble yourself and look for a place to have your phone serviced. VERZO wants to be in touch with its customers directly and have the possibility to react and help as quickly as possible.
Question 8: What is it exactly this „VERZO community"?
In the VERZO community is where one can meet all the other owners of VERZO devices, who decide to actively participate on the future of the brand. VERZO community starts with the TellME application, which is activated with the registration of a user and the Kinzo smartphone on the official website www.verzo.com, from where it can be downloaded to the phone itself. This application provides the basic means of communication between the users and the VERZO brand.
The users are given the possibility to suggest variety of improvements and mainly applications and widgets, which will be voted for by the rest of the community. The users thus decide which application and widget will be realized. The winning idea or suggestion will be later on available for download for the rest of the users in the following update. The VERZO brand is decided to take a good care of the community and further improve it with the existing and upcoming applications and suggestions.
Question 9: What is it the 'VERZO GUI'?
VERZO GUI represents our way of thinking about the world of smartphones and most of all our idea about the perfect look of a Google Android OS. VERZO GUI starts with the model Kinzo in its basic layout – with a modified main screen and the status icons, with its own weather widget, contacts visualization, background and some other features. The development of the VERZO GUI will continue in the future, while taking into account the desires of the users. We could have changed the whole system ourselves while hoping that the users will get used to it, but we have decided to show the directions and ask our users about their ideas. What do they like and dislike? What do they find useful and what rather useless? That is the idea behind the VERZO GUI.
Other related questions
1. Why does the Kinzo have a 4.3" screen?
We believe that the modern multimedia phone needs to have a big screen to be able to fully utilize its potential. That is why we have chosen the 4.3" screen. The size of the screen directly influences the size of the phone itself.
2. How long will the battery last when using Kinzo?
It is similar or even better than other comparable smartphones on the market. Kinzo has a 1530 mAh battery, which ensures that the Kinzo will be up and running for over a day while used under regular conditions. If used intensively for phone calls, e- mails and web browsing, the Kinzo will have to be charged on a daily basis, however, it will always be up and running at least from dusk till dawn.