Former Apple execs launch low-cost “design-led” smartphones

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley has teamed up with the company’s former design boss Robert Brunner to launch Obi Worldphones.

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Former Apple chief executive John Sculley has teamed up with the company’s former director of industrial design Robert Brunner to launch Obi Worldphones, a company selling low-cost “design-led” Android smartphones.

Obi, which is based in San Francisco, has launched two models – the SF1 and the SJ1.5 – which will reportedly retail at $199 (£129) and $129 (£84) respectively.

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The SF1
The SF1

The SF1 features a 5-inch HD display, a 13-megapixel camera and uses the Obi Lifespeed custom user interface for Android. The 8mm-thick unibody phone weighs 147g.

The SJ1.5
The SJ1.5

The SJ1.5 meanwhile is 8mm-thick and weights 131g. It also comes in a choice of four colours.

It features a 5-inch HD screen, an 8-megapixel camera and also uses the Obi Lifespeed user interface.

Obi co-founder John Sculley was chief executive of Apple between 1983 and 1993. Since leaving Apple he has invested in a number of businesses in the tech sector.

Sculley says: “Obi Worldphones is a design-led company with beautiful, organic Silicon Valley original design.”

Scully says he brought in Brunner – who was Apple’s director of industrial design between 1989 and 1996 – because “there was no-one I wanted more in terms of his ability to make technology beautiful or make it invisible”. He adds: Design really does define change.”

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Designing the phones
Designing the phones

Since leaving Apple Brunner has been a partner at Pentagram’s San Francisco office and in 2007 set up Ammunition Design Group.

Brunner says of the Obi phone: “The entire design experience has been orchestrated. Everything has been thought through, everything has been detailed and everything has been done in a way that just creates a really compelling experience for the people that are using it.”

He adds: “What we wanted to do was create a beautiful set of tools for a generation that uses mobile technology like never before.”

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