Doogee’s Mobile World Congress press conference is mostly what you’d expect from a company you’ve never heard of: small, low key, in the second basement meeting room at a hotel across from the convention center. It’s a bit like the smartphone farm system, the company’s hoping it can gin up enough awareness to rise above the din of news from the world’s largest mobile companies.
It’s a big ask from a company still really taking its first baby steps toward global recognition. Founded in 2013, Doogee’s been building up an odd assortment of international markets. The company believes it’s cracked the top five in places like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Algeria. It’s also using this trip to Barcelona to help gain a foothold in Spain, through local big box store, MediaMarkt.
The company’s CEO Xinchao told TechCrunch that the US is on the company’s radar as well — though it acknowledges that carriers are going to be a major hurdle, particularly in light of the recent issues with fellow Chinese companies ZTE and OnePlus have been running into here in the States.
In fact, the young company appears to be actively looking into practically all markets, save for its native China, where full access to Google services is barred. The company says it’s using its forums actively engaging demand in various markets to engage its user base. It’s a strategy that’s certainly worked for OnePlus in the past.
This year’s big announcement was the Doogee V — the company’s low-cost iPhone X knockoff. The product borrows more than a few design cues from Apple’s latest flagship, and a rep for the company quickly invoked the device when describing the company’s new phone.
When the device launches at the end of April, it will be considerably less expensive than Apple and Samsung’s flagships (though exact pricing is still TBD). And honestly, in person the device (or a prototype of the device, at least) looks considerably less slick than those devices. What it does feature, however, is a fingerprint sensor built into the display. The system essentially shines a bright OLED on the fingerprint, sending the image to the sensor.
Like just about everyone else in the industry, the company is pushing toward an all-screen display. At present, it features a familiar iPhone X-style notch up top. The company also showed off a handful of different prototypes designed to deal with the camera “problem,” including a small one that swivels up from the back of the device (part of a growing trend, it seems) and another that pops up in a manner similar to those old-school slider cellphones.
This is also the latest in a long line to show off a bendable screen prototype. It promises to actually use that tech to deliver something to the market, in the form of a handset that closes like a clamshell and opens to reveal a larger screen, in a manner similar to ZTE’s Axon M — but hopefully without the big gap between.