The Phone’s Appearance
Famous phones from brand names often have very large teams of researchers whose job is to design the look and feel of a phone. They devote many hours to playing around with different designs and looks in an effort in an attempt to produce a phone with a good look and does not exceed the pricing that the phone is set to be marketed at.
Off brand phones made in China rarely will do this. They usually will purchase a pre made case mold and then fill that with their own components. These moldings very commonly will have similarities internationally famous brands like the iPhone or a BlackBerry, and this practice unfortunately makes many Chinese made phones look like wannabe copiers (in fact, that often is exactly what they have in mind when they buy the molding in the first place). The very basic reason, besides using already famous brands well know designs to boost their own sales, is that it is less expensive to buy and use phone moldings made by other companies than it is to be like the big boys and invest in the research process (not to mention finding reliable partners to mass produce your mold).
2. The Phone’s Internal Chipset
Branded phones use a wide variety of internal chipsets for the cell phones that they make. Often these chips that are used are done so based on performance given vs cost of purchase. Chipsets with high MHz processing speeds are paramount to being able to run some of the latest apps and functions, so most often they will be seen in the latest smartphones. Lower end phones on the other hand can use chipsets that have a lower processing speed, making the price much lower in comparison.
Non brand phones made in China are almost without a doubt going to have a MTK chip within. The MTK chips from MediaTek Inc currently have two generations that most phones use.
The first generation (MTK6225) will often be used for lower cost phones, and besides allowing all the standard phone functions, also allows touchscreen control, WAP internet browsing, and some basic media functions (like a camera/ video camera, MP4 player, MP3 player, ect).
for higher end phones, there is the second generation MTK6235 with a higher processing speed available making lager screens possible, cameras with higher resolutions, gsm EDGE available, and internet connection via Wifi.
MediaTek Inc’s chips are not in the same league with chipsets from famous name brands if looked at from potential power and speed, however, to the Chinese no name cell phone makers, they are a boon since they let a phone have many of the features available to older generation phones and cost less to boot (and being easy to obtain).
3. The Phone’s Operating System (OS)
Phones from famous name brands very commonly have made an OS that that is unique for their phone, for example OS X on the iPhone or BlackBerry OS on their smartphones. When a company wants to save a little money they get rights to use another companies OS (such as Windows Mobile) and use them as is, or change them to make them look unique.
Chinese non brand phones will most often use the same OS, aka the nucleus OS. For Chinese phone makers, this is a very good choice as this operating system is known for being very easy to program for, having very little demands for processing power (necessary since the phones are using the low power MTK chips), being very reliably available for purchase, and still giving the ability to make a phones interface look slick if done right. All together, this adds up in costs of time and money when the new phone is being developed.
4. The Phone’s User Interface (UI)
Phones from famous brands will use a user interface that is custom tailored to their platform built based from their OS. This is so they can have a unique look and feel that separates them from other cell phones.
Chinese off brand phones are also able to make a myriad of different user interfaces even if they are only using the nucleus OS. Many times however, they use this ability not to make a brand new UI that could distinguish them from other UIs, but to make the UI look and act like one from a famous phone. This is done either to make the UI match the phone’s molding (also patterned on branded phones) or a quick and dirty way to make an interface that looks great and already has wide acceptance. An copied interface most often seen on these phones is the iPhone’s famous icon interface.
All around, all of these non name brand phones actually do have the possibility of making some devices that really are different (both in design and in system) as famous brand name phones, but seeing as they mostly can’t compare with the big boys in terms of available money they will use any shortcuts possible. One piece of advice I offer is that anyone looking to buy “branded” goods from China take very good care. They may offer “Real” cell phones at ridiculously low prices, and even when looked at live they might even look just like a actual model, but it is possible they are not. Keep that in mind when you purchase your phone from China.