The US smartphone market
is largely dominated by Apple and Samsung, and although OnePlus has made decent strides
of late with T-Mobile in its corner, Huawei's troubles
are likely to discourage other major Chinese vendors from pursuing their American dream anytime soon.
That makes this a perfect time for companies from different corners of the world to try their luck on US carriers. Wiko Mobile, for instance, is based in the harmless country of France, somehow holding a "top four position among the best-selling smartphones in Western Europe" without previously appearing on our radar screen. "Especially popular among style conscious consumers in France and Italy", at least according to the company's newest press release, Wiko is today bringing a dirt-cheap handset called Ride to the US.
The 5.45-inch Wiko Ride is exclusively available at Boost Mobile
, Sprint's prepaid subsidiary that may need to find a new owner
under the terms of a possible merger agreement with T-Mobile. Boost is charging a measly $39.99 for the entry-level device as part of an introductory deal cutting the recommended retail price of the Ride by 50 percent.
You probably don't expect to get much in the sub-$100 segment in terms of specs and features, but for what it's worth, Android 9.0 Pie runs the Wiko Ride software show out the box. Under the hood, there's an unnamed 2 GHz quad-core processor, alongside an unremarkable 2 gigs of memory, 16 gigs of internal storage space (expandable via a microSD card slot), and a tiny 2,500 mAh battery.
The resolution of the "vivid" 5.45-inch display is also unspecified, which is never a good sign, while the 5MP rear and 2MP front-facing cameras sound anything but special, even at a crazy low $40 starting price.
What's perhaps most interesting about Wiko Mobile is that the self-described "global mobile brand" founded and headquartered in France is actually owned by a Chinese company called Tinno Mobile. It remains to be seen if the US government will have a problem with Wiko for that reason. Probably not, at least as long as the brand is not deemed a security risk.