When I read about BDFone creating their own mobile phones that run Android and that they were at the Halal Expo I had to pay them a visit and check out their devices.
Basically they have 2 phones that should be coming to the market in the coming months (estimated at 4-6 weeks). These phones are the LC203 and the LC303 are have basic features. Both phones are 2G and the LC303 has extra features such as a camera. These 2 phones are not running Android but a custom OS from their partners. They have prototypes that are running Android and Windows Mobile but those phones will only be seen in the future.
Aiming at the B$400-B$600 price point they could make a market for themselves as typical Android handsets are targeting the more premium market at the moment. Looking at QQeStores Android phone listing there is only the Samsung Galaxy Spica I5700 and LG GW620 in this price range. My only concerns would be support for firmware updates to an Android phone. The HTC Hero has yet still get any 2.0+ firmware here in Asia and I wonder if this could be an issue with a new manufacturer. The prototype is running Donut (Android 1.6) but as it is not coming out any time soon, they may be running a newer version of Android so nothing much to comment yet.
Zahid, the managing director of BDFone, informed me that they have partnerships with Alcatel, Motorola and Nokia; and that they are targeting low cost but functional phones. I’m not too sure about lower end feature/dumb phones as I think Nokia has pretty functional phones at the low end but aiming for the lower end of Android may be beneficial. There is a void here as almost all Android phones are trying to be an iPhone killer and fetches top dollar. I’m thinking a non-touch Android phone with a keypad (1-9) would be an interesting form factor like the Nokia E52. Either way I wish them all the best and will try update on any developments on this Brunei phone.