When the New York Times
sent one of its ace reporters to Shenzhen to check out the KIRF scene, they came to a startling conclusion: these things are really quite popular. And why not? Your iPhone might be a terrific device, but is it really $400 better than the Hi-Phone
, or the iorgane
? Well, it's probably $400 better than the iorgane -- we'll give you that one. The article sites a general lack of concern from the Chinese government, new technology such as Mediatek's
turnkey circuit board solution, and a significant drop in the price of parts as reasons that knock-off phones are so prominent in that part of the world. There is also a bit of cultural pride at work, too: "shanzhai" technology, as it's known, is seen as a way to thumb your nose at the big players in the industry and throw some work to your local bandit. That said, we do have to cry foul at the way the paper lumps our beloved Meizu M8
in with the usual assortment of knock-offs: the thing sports nary an Apple (or "organe") on its handsome exterior. Check out the price breakdown on a typical $40 KIRF after the break.