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Is This the Future of Android?

The rapidly changing smartphone market is playing right into the hands of people like Sammy Ohev-Zion, CEO of Blu Products.

The six-year-old smartphone brand, which is based in Miami and stands for “Bold Like Us,” next month will sell a $129 model that basically has the same components as Motorola’s best-selling phone, the Moto G. Yet that Blu phone, called “Life XL,” retails for $50 less than the Moto G.

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He now employs about 30 engineers who fine tune the camera, making sure the auto-focus and colors are optimal, in addition to overall touch responsiveness, battery consumption and audio. (Other phone makers have hundreds or more than 1,000 engineers.) “You don’t need that much,” he says. While he has single-digit dollar expenses for each of the phones he sells, he says other companies have tens of dollars worth of expenses per phone because of overhead costs and other R&D.

“That’s why they can’t make a $90 phone,” he says.

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“My focus is to make the best $99 retail phone in the world,” Mr. Ohev-Zion says. “That’s what I do. Can I make a $200, $300, $400 phone? Yes, I can probably make it better than anybody else.”