LETV introduces the world’s first USB Type-C super-phones from China, which may upset Apple, Huawei and HTC

LETV introduces world’s first smartphone with Type-C USB Port

With the legacy of Nokia N1, the new Chromebook and the new MacBook, who knew the world’s first USB Type-C smartphone would come from a Chinese company?

For consumers it might be a new element to the concept of smartphones, but the introduction of the world’s first smartphones with USB Type-C is sure to upset the biggies of the tech world.

Chinese company LETV unveiled its debut smartphones, named Le Superphones, which boast of the new type of reversible socket that is used for charging the device; transfer of data, and for external output.

Two weeks ago the company opted for a different marketing strategy in which the teaser posters for the phones flashed Nazi leader Hitler sporting an armband with Apple’s logo on it. While this comparison of Apple to Hitler started receiving flak across the tech town, it served the intended purpose of generating curiosity around LETV’s devices.

Letv’s first step in the smartphone industry as the company’s core business relies on video streaming and production, much like Google’s YouTube. World’s first USB Type-C Le Superphones is heavily inspired from products like Apple, Huawei,and HTC flagships.

The brand in question is LeTV, who has today unveiled three new Android 5.0 “Superphones” that is featuring the reversible socket. The flagship aluminum Le Max is all about the absolute top specs: a 6.33-inch Quad HD display, a Snapdragon 810 chip (2GHz, octa-core, 64-bit), 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a whopping 64GB or 128GB of internal memory storage, a 21-megapixel f/2.0 camera (with Sony’s new IMX230 sensor, plus optical stabilization and dual-tone flash) and a bright UltraPixel selfie imager.

The Le Max is also bragging about its ESS Hi-Fi chip (with AKG’s audio tuning), a one-touch fingerprint reader on the back, infrared remote, a 3,500 mAh battery, dual LTE SIM support and Wireless HD display link. But what really will catch your attention is the design cues has taken from the iPhone 6 Plus (especially the plastic bands), Huawei’s Mate 7(both front and back sides) and HTC’s One Max. The result Hybrid Product doesn’t look too bad, actually.

The smaller Le 1 Pro (pictured middle) is essentially a resized version of the Le Max, except for its smaller 5.5-inch screen, a lesser 13-megapixel main imager (still with optical stabilization), a smaller 3,000 mAh battery and storage options of just 32GB or 64GB. The fingerprint reader and WirelessHD are also gone here. As for appearance, the phone looks like a hybrid sketch of the iPhone 6 Plus, the Huawei Mate 7, the Meizu MX4 Pro and HTC’s One Mini.

As for the affordable Le 1, it feels more like a bog-standard phone but still with a greater value. You would find a 5.5-inch 1080p display, MediaTek Helio X10 (2.2GHz, octa-core, 64-bit), 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM and variable storage options of 16GB, 32GB plus 64GB. The main camera and battery are practically identical to that of the Le 1 Pro, though the front-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with wider-angle optics. Also, there’s no Hi-Fi chip to be found here. Understandably, the Le 1 ditched the more expensive unibody design and went with the plastic-on-aluminum-frame approach. Pardon the echo, but the back does look almost the same as the MX4 Pro; which isn’t a bad thing.

Since this company has never made phones before, the specs here are surprisingly ambitious, which is just as well given the aggressive marketing campaign ahead of this event. LeTV went as far as likening Apple’s closed ecosystem to the Nazi regime, and the backlash eventually forced CEO Jia Yueting to publicly apologize and retract the statement. On the money side of things, as with most Chinese smartphones these days, LeTV doesn’t seem to plan on making huge profits off its devices, they only believe in massive turn over with reasonable profit. After all, this company’s core business relies on video streaming and production, so it’s more than happy to sell phones and TVs at low prices to build up its clients. Xiaomi’s been pulling a similar strategy with its cheap TVs and set-top boxes, but without its very own video production house, it’s an uphill battle against LeTV. Its run-in with the broadcast authorities back in late 2012 didn’t help, either.

The Le 1 starts from just 1,499 yuan (about $240), whereas the Le 1 Pro starts from 2,499 yuan (about $400), while the Le Max remains a mystery but promises to be of very good value. In fact, the company claims that it’ll be eyes popping price for its flagship device, which is a clever marketing tactic that should worry local competitors such as Xiaomi and Huawei’s Honor. If you live in China, you can pre-register for one of the 200 Le 1 engineering samples at 10am tomorrow local time; or you can wait for the pre-registration for the first 200,000 mass-production Le 1 and Le 1 Pro, which will be open at 10am on May 5th.

All the three smartphones are Android Lollipop-based and have gone for preorders in China. They will be available in the US later this year.

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