Updated, 3 p.m. ET: We've added additional information about users claiming to have never received the original phone they ordered. Check out this website telling what happened to a guy in Czech Republic and this Reddit thread.
Pablo Escobar’s brother is a foldable believer and his newest phone is a clone of the Galaxy Fold, except for its gold back. But some reports suggest this may be a case where all that glitters isn't necessarily gold.
At least, the press release announcing the new phone is pure gold, right from the very first paragraph: “Pablo Escobar's biological brother, Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria, has started production of a mainstream completely foldable smartphone which features a unique flexible screen allowing a user to easily fold their regular phone into a tablet size smartphone.”
Obviously, the phone is an almost-perfect clone of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but that doesn’t stop Escobar’s brother from claiming that it “was designed in USA.“ The press releases also says that it “is being assembled in Hong Kong” with ”[s]ome of the parts have been sourced from Shenzhen, China”.
See if you can spot the differences below:
If it weren’t for the wallpaper, it would be hard to see any differences when the phones are open.
The back, however, is completely different, with a garish gold finish and a giant PE (for Pablo Escobar) logo:
Otherwise it would look just like the Samsung foldable.
The phone — which will be initially limited to a “first ” 200,000-unit production run — claims some impressive specs for the price.
Running Android 10, the phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (which is actually faster than the Galaxy Fold). The press release says it has five cameras in total — 16MP/12MP/12MP on the back and 10MP/8MP megapixels in the front) and a 7.3-inch AMOLED panel with 2152 x 1536 resolution. The phone also has an external display — at least according to the photos and promotional video — although there are no details about its size and resolution. The entire thing is powered by a 4,380 mAh battery.
The prices? The starting model with 8GB memory and 128GB storage goes for just $399, while the one with 12GB memory and 512GB storage will set you back $549.
How can he offer all this for $399? Well, who knows. According to Escobar, his “goal is to become the overstock kingpin of electronical devices this year. All these factories simply have too much technology laying around, nobody is buying anything in China from secondary factories. We cut the prices and give clients direct discounts under the Escobar brand umbrella." You will have take his word for it.
We know that Escobar’s first phone was just a rebranded Flexpai, the world‘s very first foldable phone made by Chinese company Royole. But we don’t know how many of those sold or how good they are. And it's likely no one else does, either — PCMag reports that users who've bought that first foldable claim they've never received their new phone. Instead, some users claimed to have received only a book and a pamphlet.
According to the Escobar, the Escobar Fold 2 is “currently available” exclusively on its site (which is not safe for work).
Clearly, looking at the promotional materials full of buxom women in lingerie, Escobar Inc knows who their target market is. I would argue that the Escobar Fold 2’s only design failure is that its back is gold and not a mirror finish (for the optional bag of Colombian blow). Otherwise, with those specs and price tag, it looks like a steal to me — though if reports that the phones never actually ship are accurate, it's a question on who's doing the stealing.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.