WATCH THE VIDEO! Former drug lord’s threat to Samsung
The man who acted as an accountant for his brother Pablo Escobar's Medellín drug cartel has threatened Samsung with his second foray into the smartphone market, with a device that looks exactly like the company's beleaguered foldable from last year.
Roberto Escobar has announced the Escobar Fold 2 in a similar fashion to its previous phone: with a stylish-bordering-on-gratuitous video featuring barely dressed models smashing what appear to be Samsung Galaxy Fold and other (cheaper) devices with sledgehammers.
Unlike the previous ad, this one actually features some vision of the phone's display.
The announcement of the Escobar Fold 2 comes at an interesting time, given the previous foldable device the Escobar brand took orders for doesn't appear to have ever shipped.
One Twitter user claims they ordered one and were instead sent a book and informed they'd been upgraded to the Fold 2.
Reddit users on a forum set up to talk about the Escobar Inc. phones report receiving similar packages, but no phone as yet.
Escobar Inc. also looks to be purchasing C-grade celebrity endorsements for its phones via the website Cameo, a platform that finally proves what we already knew: for the right amount of money you can make a celebrity say anything.
According to Chris Hansen's Cameo page, Escobar Inc. paid a whole $US50 ($A74.75) for that stamp of approval from the To Catch A Predator host.
The company also splashed out $US35 ($A52.33) for one from Dumb and Dumber actor Anna Anka (who could forget her transcendent performance as "Bikini Girl"?).
But Escobar Inc. really blew the budget with its final video, paying Donald Trump's former campaign manager and senior adviser Corey Lewandowski a whopping $US55 ($A82.23) for this glowing endorsement, which he ends by telling viewers to vote for Trump again this year.
The Escobar Fold 1, which doesn't seem to be going out to the people who purchased it, shared a striking resemblance to the Royole FlexPai, the world's first folding smartphone, which was only sold in China.
The resemblance wasn't just physical: the phone had identical specifications.
Reviews of the FlexPai described it as "charmingly awful".
Aside from a gaudy gold paint job and the addition of Pablo Escobar's initials (not Roberto's, strangely) there appear to be no other changes, but Royole CEO Dr. Bill Liu recently told Android Authorityhe didn't know anything about the Escobar branded phone.
The first Escobar phone took aim at Apple, with a voiceover proclaiming "Apple Boy Steve once looked into space. He saw Pablo Escobar with a phone beyond anybody's imagination."
With the latest phone, Escobar is aiming higher, going after the market leader who sells more smartphones worldwide than any other company.
Escobar Inc. appears to want that title for itself, despite not appearing to have delivered any of the original Escobar Fold 1 phones to the people who were actually game enough to purchase one.
"The official Escobar Fold 2 smartphone is the real Samsung killer phone," Escobar Inc. said on its website listing the "new" phone.
"Rest in peace Samsung. Pablo always wins," the ad continues, glossing over the time the notorious drug trafficker and narcoterrorist was shot dead through the ear by Colombian national police in a rather resounding loss.
"This is an incredible phone, at a competitive price," Escobar Inc. said.
While claiming to be the "real Samsung killer phone", the device itself looks to actually be a Samsung phone.
The Royole CEO claims to be in the dark about how phones looking very much like the ones made by his company ended up with Pablo Escobar's initials on them, and a similar mystery appears to surround the latest phone.
Some clues abound in the remarkably poorly written press release distributed to announce the new device, which Escobar Inc. claims has an initial production run of 200,000 units and will sell for just $US399 ($A596.68).
This poses a considerable threat to the $2999 Galaxy Fold, if you can get one of either phone (which you probably can't).
The Galaxy Fold sold out quickly after going on sale in Australia, and we can't confidently say the Escobar Fold 2 will actually show up if you order one, but the still-alive Escobar brother appears to take his business seriously, even when he gives away its secrets to success.
"My goal is to become the overstock kingpin of electronical (sic) devices this year," Roberto Escobar is quoted as saying in the press release. "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."
The original Galaxy Fold was pulled shortly before its release after early reviewers experienced problems with its fragile display.
Samsung had to pull the phone and redesign it to strengthen the hinge and close gaps that allowed debris to get in.
Given the phone was due to come out shortly after those initial devices were given to and quickly broken by reviewers, it's likely Samsung was well into the production stage, and had perhaps even built a number of the devices that later had to be redesigned.
What it did with those devices is not public knowledge.
We're sure it's a coincidence that the new Escobar phone looks exactly like the Galaxy Fold and has the exact same specs.
If any of you are brave enough to buy one of these things and it actually shows up, please let us know.
Do you think the Escobar Fold 2 is a bargain or too good to be true? Let us know in the comments below.