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zzzPhone: A Dell of Cell Phones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 5, 2008

Folks at have come up with an interesting idea: They allow consumers to customize their cell phone orders the way Dell allows people to customize their PCs.

You can pick not only your handset’s color, but also its features (such as what kind of resolution your camera will have) and applications (do you want Skype?). Many of the additional features do cost extra, but a custom phone could cost as little as $150. Supposedly, you receive your zzzPhone, shipped from China, within 15 days of placing your order.

As everyone tries to to figure out how to customize phones the way we already personalize computers and snickers, I think we’ll see more of this kind of offerings. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the handset industry’s heavyweights introduce similar customization capabilities soon. A source from a major cell phone manufacturer I talked to recently has, in fact, hinted that such an offering is in the works.

Reader Comments


February 7, 2008 12:42 PM

Finally something the consumer can put their own name on instead of paying $600 more for a major manufacturers name with less of a phone. Watch for false negatives out there. Official US retailer(where I got mine) . Customize it !!!

j bean

February 8, 2008 8:34 AM

I really don't like the talking babies and most of the other dumb ads. Who writes this stuff.


February 12, 2008 2:05 PM

I am starting to hear this thing is a scam. According to some posts online it does not actually include Windows (Symbian instead) and the radio stack doesn't work in the US. Has anyone actually had a working model in hand?

Gabriel Guzovsky

February 13, 2008 6:15 PM

The thing seems like a scam indeed... lots of errors in the site and things that are not really clear.
Also, their support mail is a GMAIL.

I could be wrong, and the thing is cultural (since it's a chinese company, and they really don't care about being clear)

Could anyone confirm? The idea is interesting and the product could be nice.



February 14, 2008 1:52 PM

James Jones

February 14, 2008 11:48 PM

yes i made a order $184 bucks for the phone and sent them money, and i have not received a confirmation or anything. when i log on to their site it says I've ordered nothing but they took my money on the feb 6. i send them emails and they never respond whats up with that? i guess i been had huh..


February 16, 2008 8:02 PM

Wake up James. You had to use Paypal like I did at . The site said at least two weeks shipping. The Chinese new year ended after your order.Give them a chance to put together a custom order. Paypal holds the money until you release it at time of receiving the phone. Use at least two brain cells Jones. Hot product. Overwhelmed company. Get out much.??


February 20, 2008 9:52 AM

I called their phone number and a Chinese dude who tried but couldn't really speak English picked up. He did say, after not being able to answer my question, "did you order a phone?" That's all I know.

James Jones

February 20, 2008 11:18 PM

Kris you must be stupid . how many weeks is it now dum dum. well i guess I'm just as dum cause I'm still waiting.ive already made contact with pay pal. they took the money out of my account the next day at least that's what the bank maby you need to mind your own business. they also say you can check your order, but there is no order's .whats up with that dum dum? you talk like you know these people. if so tell your friends to get on their job


February 24, 2008 12:11 PM

Ok This is very interesting. You are all being Childish. There is nothing wrong to be act like one. As a matter of fact I decided to join you guys and I am going to act the same way. But you may learn from this. For J.Bean, I don't understand why you so concern about the way someone advertised or giving a positive feedbacks about something. I may be wrong but it looks like you are in the defensive Mode like you are going to loose something because there might be something better available to the consumers at a much cheaper price. Tom you are in a gray area. You can choose where to go from there. When you hear Negative things about someone or anything do not publish it until you find out the truth and you know for sure that findings are from good sources. So you would not look like a Dum when the truth is out. Otherwise you are helping People like J Bean, Gabriel,Alfred and Jim. They are part of the very high percentage of people that discourage other people from being successful in life because the are just Negative People. Have you ever hear this statement " it doesn't matter how many time you fail in life. it is that just one time you succeed that count". Every succesful person I know fails at least 10 times before the become successful. The people that made their orders and patiently wait for a CUSTOM made order shipping out from the other part of the World is going to be the winner. All your negative feedbacks discourage a lot of the consumers ordering this Phone. Is that going to make you a winner. James I have nothing to say about you. you have your money in the line. haven't received your order yet. Just give them some time. it is custom product you ordered. the Chinese New Year is delaying everything coming from China for about two to three weeks. Your money is safe when you use Paypal.


February 28, 2008 4:51 AM

Well guys, to my mind there is no need to put any comments more...but i just ask James - please write here if you finelly got your phone.


March 14, 2008 7:50 PM

I got my phone

Brandon Freeman

March 21, 2008 6:08 PM

I finally got one of the phones in the first batch they shipped, here is a short review along with pics if you're interested:


April 2, 2008 11:40 AM

hi jim this is sridhar from India, i am planning to buy zzz phone, i think you have got the after a long waiting how is it working, can you suggest us to buy the phone


April 14, 2008 6:26 AM

Don't Bye Sridhar Don't work in USA


April 15, 2008 5:51 AM

Sridhar I got the apple iphone I love it


April 17, 2008 8:47 AM


Bought my ZZphone after reading the BusinessWeek article. Paid over $200 and got the best looking non-working phone I ever saw.

Hmmm... the best shinny plastic cover and chipped plated plastic. The instruction are a piece of art, but since I don't understand art, I could not read them. Mind you it might be because I am Canadian (Canadia in the intruction manual) I do not understand "Chinglish" very well.

Emailed tell them the phone did not work and they told me "Solly, we shipped a bad batch, wait it will be better next time". I have not heard back from them in a month.

They must be really busy with all that success and stuff...

Michel the Canadian from Canadia


April 17, 2008 11:44 AM

I ordered the ZZZPhone the second week of February and was sent shipping confirmation. When I tried to track the shipment the number was no good. I tried to contact the company several times without a response and finally received a call explaining there were problems and a new phone design would be shipped out shortly. It is the third week of April and I still do not have the phone. I have been calling leaving messages and e-mails requesting my money back but I haven't received a response. Finally did talk with someone Friday and was told that he woudld send the cancellation request to China Monday. I talked with him today and he is saying the same thing, that he will send the cancellation request to the owner of the company. I'm not sure what the problem is but even though it seems like a great phone for less money as other brands I don't have money like that to waste. I need my money and now I don't have the phone or my money. Trying to contact the company is very frustrating. I think that if the company is going to sell the product they should have someone answering messages and e-mails promptly. This has just caused me to not want to order anything online overseas again. Good Luck to those of you who order in the future.

d r rao

April 28, 2008 4:55 AM

I booked this mobile on 25.03.08 by paying $159 and till date I have not received any thing. When ever I checked tha site for information regarding my order, just it showing PAID. I think this is somethig a scam like one. If any information is ther, pl. share.


April 28, 2008 2:31 PM

Well...D R Rao I ordered my 2-9-08 and still do not have it. It's been very hard communicating with the company. I send constant e-mails but nothing comes back in return. I have been contacted don't get me wrong but when I explained that I wanted to cancel my order and get my money back I haven't heard from them since. I sent several e-mails last week asking for my money back and in return i received a e-mail telling me that my order would be shipped this week which I've heard that 3 times before. DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP.


September 8, 2008 6:19 PM

well it is september now and seems to have a new design its is nice looking but as i search google and google images and i can not seem to find anything about this phone. only the old ones its the touchscreen slider that im talking about. help? email is


December 15, 2008 5:54 PM


I was debited twice for same object- I was promised a refund from; : MR David Cohen and Mr Larry Horowitz . Nothing happened-
After upgrading, no refund as advertized was given for cancelled item.
Phone was due for consignement on 30th of november,postponed to 15th December.
No reply after request of speedy credit note on double undue debit.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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