(UPDATED) Cherry Mobile is now selling Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 devices, and right off the bat, it has generated considerable buzz around its four new products.
Why not? Priced at an unprecedented P2,999, the just-announced Cherry Mobile Alpha Style is the world's cheapest handset running Microsoft's mobile platform. Its higher-specced sibling, the P4,999 Alpha Luxe, is also a serious threat to the Nokia Lumia 530.
Of course, that didn't stop senior Microsoft executives from the United States to attend the unveiling of what could very well be the most interesting bunch of Windows hardware in recent memory.
Rounding out the foursome are the Cherry Mobile Alpha Play and Alpha Morph, 8- and 10.1-inch Windows 8.1 tablets that will retail for P7,999 and P11,999, respectively, when they hit stores in October. In true Cherry Mobile tradition, they only cost a fraction of alternatives from industry giants.
Cherry Mobile Alpha Style and Alpha Luxe
You already know that the Cherry Mobile Alpha Style is as wallet-friendly as Windows Phone 8.1 handsets get, but that also suggests compromises had to be made to keep its price low. The most noticeable concession graces the phone's front: a 4-inch IPS screen that's low-res and has limited viewing angles for a display of its type. It's encased in a bulky, all-plastic casing, with a choice of glossy paint jobs (black, red, and white).
Inside, a modest quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor is matched with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. The rear and selfie cameras are equipped with 5-megapixel and VGA sensors. In fairness, the Alpha Style does handle Microsoft's mobile operating system without hiccups. Then again, we can't say the opposite about any Windows Phone 8.1 device we've tried.
The Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe features a vibrant 5-inch HD IPS display fronted by scratch-resistant Dragontrail glass and the same Snapdragon 200 processor found inside the Alpha Style, but with a double shot of RAM and expandable storage. Topping out at 8 and 2 megapixels, the rear- and front-facing cameras have also been considerably bumped up.
As for the "Luxe" branding, it's likely attributed to the chrome-styled trim surrounding the bezels, as well as the ripple pattern on the plastic back cover.
Cherry Mobile Alpha Play and Alpha Morph
Color us intrigued. Cherry Mobile has forayed into the PC market with Intel-based machines running full-fledged Windows 8.1. In case we haven't driven the point home yet, yes, you can install a PC application on either Alpha Play or Alpha Morph, just as you would on any desktop or laptop. Size is a key difference here.
The Alpha Play flaunts an 8-inch IPS touchscreen, along with a power-efficient, quad-core Intel Bay Trail processor with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Its lone microUSB port supports the USB 3.0 standard for faster file transfers.
The Alpha Morph, on the other hand, is a Microsoft Surface-like slate sans the kickstand, and it comes with a magnetic Bluetooth keyboard dock that doubles as a cover.
Cherry Mobile has revealed to us that it plans to sell a similar dock-slash-cover for the Alpha Play.