back to article Escobar Fold 1 snort all it's cracked up to be: Readers finger similarity to slated Chinese mobe

So, as reported yesterday, the younger brother of Colombia's favourite son Pablo Escobar plans to launch a foldable phone, the Escobar Fold 1. Alarm bells started ringing, not least because the entry-level model has an MSRP of $349 – about $1,000 less than what you'd expect. Here's another reason to be cautious, as spotted by …

  1. dnicholas

    >> We've reached out to Escobar Inc for clarification. If we hear back, and nobody kills us for asking too many questions, we'll update this article. ®

    Dead men tell no tales

    1. macjules

      cutting out the middleman

      Has a slightly different meaning in the world of cartels and trafficking ..

      (Mine's the one with the 1Kg white "phone box" inside)

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Simple. He made them an off they couldn't refuse

    In the Alan Sugar sense of the phrase.

    I guess he's a born negotiator, or something.

    Mine's the one with the Kevlar lining and ceramic plate inserts.

  3. Mark 85

    If it were a corporate (in the US/Euro sense), this would be a loss leader to suck off and legitimize profits from their "other" businesses. But, maybe they just bought existing stock are a firesale price re-branded them.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "to suck off and legitimize profits from their "other" businesses"

      In other words, money laundering. That's what I thought myself as well. Even if you're making $500 loss per phone, you're 'losing' money that you can't get into the banking system and gaining money that you can

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Spot on, Jake. When I read the previous article I immediately had a mental image of bank notes in a washing machine. I remember hearing some time ago that realising 25 per cent of dirty goods/money is a really good level of return, so this fits. I don't know whether to be impressed or disgusted by the sheer brass neck of the scheme, though!

  4. Blockchain commentard

    Like his brother's business model - get 'em hooked cheaply then screw them later. He'll probably lock the phone and demand Bitcoins to release it once you've got all your contacts, photos etc. on it.

  5. Androgynous Cow Herd

    not sure why the price is suprising

    Maybe a loss leader to make a splash, but If I go to buy a "Flagship" phone from 2 years ago, I can get a similar price reduction from the latest/greatest. What does a 2 year old Samsung Note go for now?

    Given that the phone originally got pretty horrible reviews, mixed with someone sitting on top of a stack of boxes in some Chinese warehouse, means they might be happy with a couple hundred bucks/unit or whatever.

    The Escobar family connection is certainly interesting, of course, but it doesn't follow that this is a scam anymore than the older phones on my carriers website.

    I doubt the phone cost anywhere near what Royales MSRP to manufacture...maybe they just want the capital back?

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge

    The House website --- 'Established 1985' [ seriously ] --- is well worth opening for any enquiring young mind.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Interesting, my first thought was "but I can't use this since I'm not a half naked supermodel".

      As to why it's so cheap I refer you to the terms on the order page:


      Sounds really legit doesn't it? The only effective meaning I can make of that is that you've actually consented to be fleeced by any malware that may or may not be preinstalled.

      1. Mephistro

        Either that or the phone includes a specially temperamental battery with the same stability as a flask of nitroglycerine in a roller coaster.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        I haven't read the detailed t&cs of my Nokia or Samsung phones, but I suspect that they, together with every other manufacturer of phones / electronics, have a similair clause buried in there somewhere

      3. macjules

        That’s all right, there are fully naked models on there as well, as well as models biting on the phone while being threatened with hand guns.

        This could well be a new way to sell iPhones: I can just see the Apple ads now.

    2. Chairman of the Bored


      ...daaaang! That's quite a sales, er, site. Now I've got to fix my keyboard

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        @Chairman of the Bored

        The 70's called .... and even they were shocked!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder whatever happened to Eee girl… /oldfart

    4. Hawkeye Pierce

      That is some website

      Rather concerning imagery on the home page and an unflattering photo of the founder with the words underneath saying:

      "Former accountant and chief of assassinations of the Medellín Cartel."

      Wow, just wow.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: That is some website

        Also, in the company history page (which I recommnend heartily) they say that someone squatted on their web domain, and demanded $3 million to give it back to them. They won it at an international domain dispute panel.

        That is one brave cyber-squatter! / That was one stupid cyber squatter! [delete as appropriate]

        They also set up a GoFundMe to impeach Trump while doing all their other stuff.

  7. IGotOut Silver badge


    The are avoiding TrumpTarrif Inc by shipping them from Thailand. Once in the country, a courier will helpfully remove all the excess packaging (approx 1kg) before passing into onto you.

  8. david 12 Silver badge

    Buy in China with drug money. Sell in the Americas for clean money.

    Sound business model.

    And the phone may be a flop at $1400, but at $400 it looks like reasonably good value.

  9. werdsmith Silver badge

    Anyone considering this phone has to remember they will be dealing with a very dodgy organisation.

    But enough about the OS, how long will that folding screen last?

  10. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Mirror back

    with a fast-removable fullsize SIM card, with a sharpened edge

    for your convenience

  11. Ken 16 Silver badge

    I eagerly await my package from Columbia

    I do hope it won't get held up at customs.

  12. defiler

    Customer service?

    I wonder what they're like if you raise a complaint...

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Customer service?

      I think the top picture on the website tells you all you need to know...

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Customer service?

        They suck

  13. 0laf Silver badge

    If you order one does the box weigh 2Kg but the phone only 300g? Is the box mysteriously lighter after being delivered by the 'courier'.

  14. ItsMeDammit

    But how is it $1,000 cheaper?

    Probably, because unlike say Samsung, they are not paying a team of software developers to write a load of bloatware for the damn thing that duplicates existing tools, cannot be removed from the phone and are out of date before it even got into the store let alone your own home.

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      "unlike say Samsung"

      While I appreciate the point about Samsung bloatware, which we could all do without, what do they have to do with Royole? Royole were slated for NOT spending time or money on software development for the Flexpai.

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Escobar Inc

    I am comforted in my opinion that anything related to this company is to be avoided at all costs. It is astounding that such a family of criminals can openly deal on the international market without any backlash.

    Escobar can keep its trash, I'm not going to help them launder a single cent of ill-gotten gains.

    1. macjules

      Re: Escobar Inc

      It is astounding that such a family of criminals can openly deal on the international market without any backlash.

      But enough about the makers of the phone’s OS ..,

  16. Chairman of the Bored

    They seriously missed a marketing trick

    While the scantily clad women are a marketing trope, yet possibly still effective, I think they could have done better:

    Have photos of sad looking, heavily tattooed men doing hard time, with expressions that say, "I used to own the world but now life sucks."

    Put a caption underneath: "Secure phones. If I'd had one of these, I wouldn't be here."

  17. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Other products you missed

    July 11 2019 (company history page):

    Escobar Inc launches the original, official and proprietary Escobar Inc Flamethrower, a $500 flamethrower, reduced to $249 tactical toy with a 20,000 unit production run produced by Flameshooter Ltd in London, UK. Currently in a dispute with Elon Musk over our proprietary technology.

    I'm surprised there isn't also a line of chainsaws as well. You couldn't make this up. It's a funny old world...

    1. The Nazz

      Re: Other products you missed

      At least give them credit for being upfront and entirely honest about matters (on the face of it).

      It's been a long time since i've seen any other website that is, commercial or government.

    2. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Other products you missed

      @I ain't Spartacus: "proprietary technology."

      I'd love to know what "proprietary technology." there is, in what is essentially a weed burner made to look "tacticool". Even when the Escobar inc one is clearly a rip off, and they wouldn't have made one without The Boring Company doing so first, the 'proprietary' bit of a gas burner is going to take some selling.

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