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The Next Big Thing

Alibaba-backed smartphone maker Meizu launches US$129 M2 Note phablet

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 10:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 10:17am

Chinese smartphone maker Meizu has launched its latest mid-range phablets, with prices starting at an aggressive 799 yuan (US$129).

The Zhuhai-based company, backed by Alibaba, also teamed up with the e-commerce giant’s Tmall service to introduce a new version of a set-top box that allows users to control their television with their smartphones, among other functions.

The Meizu M2 Note features a 5.5-inch 1080p display along with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and powered by MediaTek’s MT6753 64-bit octa-core processor running at 1.3 GHz.

Unlike its predecessor, this handset sports a physical home button below the display. It comes in blue, white, rose and grey. It has a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front facing camera.

The design of the phones will remind some readers of the colourful iPhone 5C, but the very aggressive prices will render the strongly-specced phones competitive when compared with other budget phones by other smartphone companies, including Xiaomi, Oppo, and ZTE.

It comes with either 16 gigabytes or 32 gigabytes internal storage, with the former costing 799 yuan and the latter 999 yuan.

The Meizu M2 Note is priced lower than the company's previous M1 Note, which started at 999 yuan. More than 5 million units of the past model, launched at the end of last year, have been sold, an executive said at an event in Beijing.

The company has expanded to 80 customer service locations across mainland China in the past month, with plans to increase it up to 300 within the year. A new service would also send smartphone repairers to customers’ homes in cases of emergency.

The M2 Note went on sale in mainland China yesterday from multiple outlets including the company's official website and Tmall.

Although unknown overseas, Meizu has built a decent reputation in China for making powerful handsets with very low price tags.

The set-top box also introduced at the event represented another step in Alibaba's ambitious plan to build a comprehensive family entertainment system in sectors covering e-commerce, internet videos, games, education, and music.

It will carry more than 6,000 movies and thousands of television shows, among other licensed content owned by Ali Pictures, Wasu Entertainment, Discovery Channel, and Lionsgate, according to press material.

Alibaba announced in February a US$590 million investment in Meizu, giving it an undisclosed minority stake in the smartphone company.