Thursday, September 21, 2017

Frank, I'm disappointed

I like cellphones, that's why I work at places that sell them. I like having a bunch of cellphones that not a lot of people in Canada would have like the OnePlus X and the HTC One A9, the latter of which I can't even get cases for in Canadian stores. I like cellphones and I like having a collection of backups so anything out of the ordinary in the midrange level is something I love keeping an eye on.

I saw an ad on Instagram about the Frank phone and how it'll be a cheap phone launching in North America. Benefit of the doubt kicks in and my mind said "hey, this seems interesting and seems like something different. Well, not too different since it apparently is 'just a fucking phone'. And I want it."

I'm disappointed in Frank though - the company, not the nonexistent-at-this-point Frank phone (well, it technically exists). This was being touted by the company as their own innovation and how prototypes were made and how it's gonna be huge and cheap. Hope into one hand, spit in the other, and see which one fills up first. Well, in reality, people online have discovered that Frank is actually a Chinese phone being resold as "original". Here's the link.

Alternate title for this would've been "A Middle Finger To Frank" but I'm not mad at them or anything. Just disappointed. And like this supposed Frank character, I've had enough.

An honest deal? Well, Motorola has been doing well with budget phones like the Moto G 3rd Gen or the Moto G5 Plus, both of which I own (I have a problem, clearly). That means no customer is restricted to one kind of phone as there are always options. Don't like Motorola? Try LG. Don't like LG? Try Samsung. Don't like Samsung? Try Apple. The list goes on and on. 

The Frank phone was probably going to be for people who aren't aware of tech and just care about phones being, well, phones. But again, no one is restricted to buying phones in the 4-digit price range.

It's also pretentious to say that a $1000 dollar phone costs $150 to make but that's not taking into account the marketing, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, software testing, and quality assurance like Samsung's 8-Point Battery Check to actually make that phone worth that price tag. That's why phones are flagships because that's going to be the leading phone in the company, marketed the most, and would be the huge selling tool for profit.

"Fuck the Big Guys," said the edgy company.

To which I reply,

Samsung and LG have great phones, even in the midrange level. Heck, I've sold a dozen Samsung A5 2017's and they've always been wonderful. LG G5 has a great dual camera setup and is surprisingly a decent phone. So why bother "disrupting" something that these phone companies have been doing well for years now with 17-year old college dude trying to run baby's first phone company?

Anyway, I gave the Frank phone a shot because it's a phone and it's cheap. And I want cheap phones. Benefit of the doubt, again.

Option three? Who is this? Austin Aries? In what way does "I don't want to pay $1000 for a phone" lead to "I'm going to straight to the manufacturers to save money"? Instead of just buying a midrange phone for a quarter of that price and move on, the founders of Frank are trying to do an underdog story and want to "disrupt" the mobile world - by being another brick in the wall that BLU, Maxwest, and Sky Devices are already part of. High tech and low cost is something that companies already achieved before like OnePlus with the OnePlus One and Motorola with their Moto G5. Heck, count in Xiaomi and Oppo with their underrated phones.

Also, instead of saving the money for his future education, he'd rather go to the manufacturer and get a phone? Big priorities.

Had they just been upfront with it by saying "Hey, we're selling this phone and we want you to like it, it's nothing special" instead of "We're actually designing it ourselves from scratch! See? Fuck the big guys, this'll be big! A MOVEMENT!"

Their campaign has been suspended by Indiegogo, which was originally supposed to be on Kickstarter, since their emails hyped up Kickstarter. Most likely because people have caught on and realized that the marketing for the phone was that it was designed on a white board rather than just being bought from a Chinese website.

"The Big Guys can't bully us," they say. What "big guys" have actually bullied the Frank company? What "big guys" have actually mentioned Frank? Do Samsung executives, who are likely busy with their Note 8 launch, say "Hey, Phil, goddamn, this Frank startup is giving us the FINGER and would probably steal our customers!"?

And what idiot would fork up THOUSANDS of dollars on a device? The Porche Design Huawei Mate 9 costs a bit above $2000 Canadian so maybe that's what they were referring to, even though that phone isn't really sold in brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy or Staples. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is around $1300 Canadian and that's the new shiny phone that everyone would be talking about. Frank is making it seem like people don't have other options and it's either go big or use a rotary phone.

The ad is way worse since it's just some dude giving the middle finger to stores, most likely filled with hardworking people.

Yes, they have a right to advertise how they want, freedom of speech and all, but that doesn't mean that everyone wouldn't disagree with how they present themselves. One middle finger? Maybe, sure, make it meaningful in its use. 250 middle fingers? Not so much. The seconds of just the dude with his middle finger out isn't really that practical when the company trying to sell a phone instead of a "principle" of fucking the "big guys". The same "big guys" whose phones are being used as daily drivers of the Frank people.

Again, am I mad about this? Not really. Just disappointed.

I wanted this to be good. I wanted them to have been honest from the beginning. But the constant spouting of "fuck the big guys" - the same big guys who are constantly developing phones and have a track record - is just too much. The pricing is also terrible since it's advertised as $180 US for the first few hundred people. The lying about originality and designing the phone from the ground up was the last straw and just made me want to just stick to a company that knows what it's doing instead of cheeky entrepreneurs trying to capitalize on the supposed people who apparently don't know any better about buying phones and how retailers are trying to screw everyone out of thousands of dollars.

I'm Ralph Corleone and that's my opinion.