Ottawa teen’s low-cost smartphone to take on Apple, Samsung

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CBC News Ottawa | Joe Lofaro | Sep 3, 2017

Moe Omer, 17, and business partner hope $180 smartphone will take off

Moe Omer is about to take on tech giants Apple and Samsung with the launch of his own smartphone next week, with one noticeable difference between him and competition.

He's launching the phone with some of the features you'd expect in most mid-range phones, but for just $180. Oh, and he's only 17 years old.

What started out as a passion project for the Ottawa teen has now blossomed into a full-blown entrepreneurial undertaking.

Moe Omer, 17, is studying industrial design while launching his new smartphone company. (Twitter/@therealmoeomer)

Omer told CBC Radio's All in a Day that when he met with a millionaire investor and shared his idea, he was told he was on embarking on a futile enterprise.

See:  Crowdfunding Best Practices  |  Campaigns

"I kind of just went with it, and he didn't think we were going to make it up to this point. And we're here now," Omer said.

Omer is now the chief technology officer of the new smartphone brand "frank." Along with his business partner and CEO, Fahd Alhattab, Omer hopes to attract prospective customers with an Indiegogo fundraising campaign that will launch Sept. 5.

The new phone looks like your typical, modern smartphone. It has a fingerprint reader, a 16-megapixel rear camera, a 5.5-inch HD display, and it runs on Google's Android operating system.

But what stands out most about the phone is the price, which is the focus of their cheeky social media campaign.

"I just want this to be a brutally honest, frank phone. I want to be honest with everyone in the most brutal way possible, and we're not shying away from different methods of marketing," Omer said.

See:  For Canada’s tech to thrive, startups must grow up

The first 500 phones will be available for the $180 price, but after that the cost jumps to $220. Omer hopes to attract a young, money-conscious demographic with the low price tag.

The guiding mantra behind developing the phone over the past year was sacrifice.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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