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July 13, 2017

KFC’s ketchup-colored smartphone has an etching of Colonel Sanders

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If you can’t get enough of the Colonel’s fried Chicken, KFC’s limited edition smartphone might just be the one for you.

Can a smartphone come close to the finger-lickin’ goodness of a Bucket O’ Chicken? Thanks to Huawei and Kentucky Fried Chicken China, there’s no need to wonder any longer. The fast food behemoth announced a limited edition, KFC- branded handset to commemorate its 30th anniversary of operations in China.

The Colonel’s custom “Huawei 7 Plus” phone may not be breaded and deep fried, but it packs exclusives you won’t find on any iPhone or Google Pixel. There’s a KFC delivery app and access to K-music, a new jukebox function that lets KFC patrons pick and share a restaurant’s playlist. Another is 100,000 in “K Dollars,” KFC’s virtual rewards currency.

That’s not to mention the KFC phone’s distinctive design, which features a laser etching of Colonel Sanders as well as a deep red, ketchup-colored casing that curves around all four of its edges.

How does it perform? It sports Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 425 processor paired with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage (expandable to 128GB with a microSD card), and a 5-inch 720p screen. There’s a 13MP rear camera and a fingerprint sensor on the rear, and a 3,020mAh batter under the hood.

The bad news: If you really wanted to get one, you’re out of luck. KFC’s phone, which launched exclusively in China, won’t be shipping internationally anytime soon. Customers in the mainland can purchase it through the KFC app or from a flagship Alibaba Tmall store for 1,099 yuan ($162), and KFC says it’ll sell a total of 5,000 units.

Why China? The country’s well-established love affair with the Colonel’s biscuits and breasts began in November 1987, when the first KFC restaurant opened not far from Tienanmen Square in Beijing. Earnings of Yum China, its corporate parent, grew to more than $2 billion over subsequent decades, which analysts attribute to KFC’s aggressive localization. It offered menu items like Peking duck burritos, and clean, upscale interiors that became common gathering spots for Chinese, rather than simple take-out places in the U.S.

Recent controversies like an Avian flu virus and suppliers’ excessive use of hormones hurt the brand’s bottom line in the early 2000s, but business is today is on an upward trajectory. In 2014, Yum owned 4,200 KFC restaurants in China and holds about 40 percent of the fast food market, according to Quartz.

That’s all the light KFC was willing to shed on its 30th anniversary smartphone, but here’s hoping it packs plenty of oleophobic coating. As anyone who’s brought a smartphone to a chicken fry can tell you, grease is a recipe for apocalyptic smudging.




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