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VinSmart Enters US Market with Two Sub-$100 Phones for AT&T

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Feb 25, 2021, 2:00 PM   by Rich Brome

Vietnamese manufacturer VinSmart has officially entered the US phone market thanks to a deal with AT&T for "nearly 2 million smartphones". AT&T (and its Cricket prepaid brand) recently started selling two distinct entry-level phone models from VinSmart. Both are under $100 and are white-labeled, meaning they bear the AT&T or Cricket brand (instead of VinSmart or its Vsmart brand). AT&T has turned to Chinese manufacturer Tinno for such phones in recent years. But with the US government's hostile posture toward Chinese telecom companies in the last few years, AT&T may be looking to diversify its suppliers beyond China. The more affordable of the two models is the AT&T Fusion Z. It has a 6-inch HD display and USB-C, but its specs are otherwise minimal, including Android Go Edition, a Snapdragon 215 chip, and a 5 megapixel main camera. AT&T Prepaid shows the list price as $80 but is selling it for $40. Walmart is selling the same phone as the "Motivate" for $50. The slightly higher-end model is the Cricket Influence, which runs full Android 10 thanks to 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chip. Features include a fingerprint reader, modern notched HD display with Gorilla Glass 3, and a 13-megapixel camera plus depth camera for portrait mode. Both phones have a headset jack and memory card slot. Cricket shows a list price of $110 for the Influence, but is selling it for $40 to both new and existing customers. Walmart is selling the same phone for AT&T Prepaid as the AT&T Maestro Plus, for $90. The original "AT&T Maestro" was manufactured by Tinno.


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Mar 3, 2021, 3:53 PM

Glad to see Qualcomm silicon in these...

I believe these are the latest outgrowth of an ODM partnership with Emblem for AT&T and Cricket. In the past, we have seen Tinno being that ODM partner to Emblem, but now with VinSmart taking the place of Tinno, and Qualcomm silicon instead of MediaTek, if these do well, I could see myself giving them my money in a couple of years.

The Cricket Ovation was really the only Tinno-sourced device in the Emblem lineup at Cricket that did well/got good reviews, and in its own way it was groundbreaking - outcompeting the similarly spec'd Nokia C5 Endi, and delivering a cheap phone that didn't seem as cheap as its price. The Cricket Influence shares some of the winning design language of the Ovation, while swapping out the MediaTek Helio P22 for...
I got the ATT Radiant Max on the week it came out. One of the few att prepaid phones with 3 GB ram & 32 ROM. Run good but with the Mediatek P22 it is lagging the more it is used. Just the weak processor. Think I will get the Maestro Plus with the 460 ...
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