Ninetology ASEAN yesterday (Thursday), launched its first ever LTE-enabled smartphone – the U9Z1T. The phone marks a new benchmark for the young brand, having successfully rolled out its portfolio of U9 Series premium mid-range smartphones. Ninetology also introduced eChannel – a portal that integrates its online and offline services.
Officiating the launch was Sean Ng, chief executive officer of Ninetology Group, with his dynamic team of Leslie Loh, chief digital officer; Aryton Jacob Ho, head of product; and Quah Cheng Eng, digital marketing manager gracing the launch.
The journey so far
Ninetology announced a revenue of RM180 million in 2013 (December), pushing 1 million devices to consumers and grabbing 12% of the mobile device market share in Malaysia. The ambitious upstart has set a revenue target of RM380 million by the end of 2014. Ninetology announced a long-term collaboration with Qualcomm in April this year, to drive its expansion across ASEAN.
The mobile space, specifically the mid-range market, is a highly competitive one with many players. The benchmark has been set very high with the likes of China-based brands like Huawei and Xiaomi leading the race in price-performance. Ninetology clearly knows this and isn’t playing up on the specs and price.
Instead the brand is focusing on building an ecosystem for both its business partners and customers. This is where its new eChannel comes in. While the strategy and execution is rather muddled at this point, in a nutshell, eChannel combines offline and online channels to maximise Ninetology’s reach to customers. eChannels also supports its partners which include major online shopping sites, news and review sites, social influencers, mass and print media, social messaging platforms, mobile operators and physical stores (retailers/dealers).
It is an ambitious plan on the offset and if executed well would benefit customers and its partners. More on eChannel here: www.ninetology.com/echannel
U9 goes 4G LTE
The move to LTE is inevitable as the need for speed (wirelessly, pardon the pun) becomes ubiquitous, just as internet connectivity as a whole has become. The Asia Pacific region has the highest 4G subscriber growth rate in the world. The coming of the new U9Z1T, Ninetology’s very first LTE-enabled device, is timely.
Sporting a 5-inch HD IPS display, the U9Z1T is quite well put together. Its glossy white finish is pleasing if not unremarkable.
In place of the MediaTek option on previous models in its U9 stable, the U9Z1T incorporates a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor running at 1.2Ghz. Memory is 1GB with 8GB storage (expandable to 32GB via microSD). Like its predecessors, the U9Z1T features good camera optics for its main shooter – a 13MP, and a 1.6MP front.
The bundled battery is rated at 2,000mAh, considered bare minimum in this day and age. With the Snapdragon platform though, there’s a nifty utility called Battery Guru that intelligently optimises battery life.
Setting itself apart from other Android experiences however, is its new NQ Live Launcher that sits atop Android 4.3. The new launcher looks clean, with flat icons and almost Meego-like appearance. It also supports custom themes out of the box. Bundled apps include Game Mall, a curated store that features locally developed apps – a collaboration with MDeC. There is also the handy NQ Security and KKBox, Asia’s No.1 music streaming app.
Pricing and availability
The U9Z1T is priced at RM899, one of the cheapest LTE devices on the market. Ninetology announced rebates of up to RM200 available from selected mobile operators as well.
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