For all the big smartphone players like Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, there are smaller ones like Blu and Yezz that operate outside the carrier system and sell their phones direct to customers through outlets like Amazon. Mostly they've focused on cheap feature phones and Android devices, but Yezz today announced their first Windows Phone 8.1 devices: the Billy 4.7 and 4.0. And boy are they cheap.
The phones are due out in May on Amazon, and Yezz is laying claim to them being the thinnest Windows Phones yet at just 7.2mm. The Billy 4.7 has a 4.7-inch IPS screen with 1280x720 resolution. Inside the aluminum body you'll find two SIM slots, an unspecified quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Radio-wise there's HSPA+, and for the camera you're looking at a 13.1MP shooter.
There's no indication of the size of the battery in the Yezz Billy 4.7, nor do we know how much storage or RAM you'll get (all likely on the skimpy side). You'll note there's also no LTE here. That's how you keep it thin and cheap. But it will come with three interchangeable backs in red, white, and blue.
For calibration of your expectations, Yezz's top-end Android phone — the Andy A6M — has fairly similar specs (with a 6-inch screen, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM, and a 2400mAh battery) and retails for $325 with no contract. It's not a flagship-level Android phone by any stretch, but it's cheap and unlocked.
The Billy 4.7, meanwhile, will be priced at $249/€229 with global availability in late May/early June.
In case a $249 off contract phone wasn't cost-conscious-enough for you, Yezz's Billy 4.0 will be even cheaper. It drops down to a 4-inch display, 8MP camera, and $139/€129 price.
All that said, you'll get what you pay for. There are really affordable Windows Phones available today, like the Nokia Lumia 521. And those phones come with the full backing of a company with history, experience, and full-fledged customer support that a manufacturer like Yezz cannot offer.
But with Microsoft dropping royalty fees for Windows Phone, we wouldn't at all be surprised to see more cheap "off brand" smartphones like these cropping up.
YEZZ Introduces the Billy 4.7 Windows Phone
Miami, FL – May 1, 2014 –YEZZ, a leading multi-national mobile device manufacturer, today announced the Billy 4.7 based on Windows Phone 8.1. Wrapped in lightweight aluminum, the dual-SIM device combines modern design, high quality materials and top notch performance. YEZZ is quickly expanding their footprint in the US and Europe by keeping up with the expanding demands in the mobile industry.
"Today we are introducing the world's thinnest mobile device based on Windows Phone 8.1. Our Billy 4.7 features a sleek and sexy design offering people an uncompromised imaging experience at an affordable price," said Luis Sosa, Creator of the YEZZ Billy 4.7. "We are pleased to bring the great developments of Windows 8.1 to our portfolio of freestyle mobile devices."
The ultra-slim Billy 4.7 is fueled by a powerful Snapdragon quad-core processor, delivering more content for apps, games, and mobile browsing. The Billy 4.7 features a 13.1 MP camera, a stunning 4.7-inch IPS screen with OGS technology and 1280x720 HD resolution. Delivering a fast, 4G HSPA+ internet experience capable with HSDPA+ 42.2 Mbps data speed, the Billy 4.7 comes equipped with dual-SIM technology, providing the perfect combination for work, play or travel.
Designed with style-conscious individuals in mind, the lightweight, 7.2mm-slim device offers simplistic beauty with its curved edges, glossy finish and scratch resistant Gorilla® Glass 2. Compatible with all GSM networks, the unlocked Billy 4.7 comes with three interchangeable covers available in red, white and blue.
Aggressively priced at $249 and (euro) 229, the dual-SIM Billy 4.7 is expected to roll out globally late May starting with Europe, LATAM and United States. For the cost-conscious user, YEZZ is also rolling out the Billy 4.0 loaded with a 4-inch OGS screen, 8MP rear camera and 1.3MP front camera, quad core processor, retailing for only $139 and (euro) 129.
The Billy 4.7 and Billy 4.0 will be available in June exclusively at Amazon.com. Visit www.sayyezz.com for additional product information.
YEZZ is a global manufacturer of strategically designed mobile devices dedicated to empower consumers with the freedom to choose a smartphone or tablet to meet their lifestyle. As the creators of the freestyle mobile philosophy, we offer high-quality, cost efficient, and fashion forward devices that connect consumers' business and entertainment needs with their personal style. Learn more about YEZZ by visiting www.sayyezz.com, facebook.com/FreestyleMobile, instagram.com/yezzmobile# or Twitter @YezzMobile.
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.