LeEco is hardly a household name in the United States, but it’s doing everything it can to change that. At its wild launch event in October, the relatively unknown (in the west) company unveiled a pair of Android smartphones—along with a line of TVs, VR headset, smart bicycle streaming service, self-driving electric car, and a partridge in a pear tree—designed to be the center of a new mobile ecosystem. But until now, anyone who wanted a phone had to be fast enough to catch it during one of the flash sales at LeMall.com.
Starting Dec. 1, it’ll be a whole lot easier to buy one. For one, LeEco is lifting the restrictions at LeMall, so buyers won’t have to be so quick on the trigger, but more importantly, the $249 Le S3 and $399 Le Pro3 will also be available online at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. And to sweeten the deal for would-be purchasers, the company has partnered with DirecTV to offer three months of its newly unveiled Now streaming service with any purchase.
Why this matters: Chinese phone makers face long odds when trying to penetrate the U.S., and it remains to be seen if LeEco’s push will be fruitful. But getting major retail visibility for its phones during the holiday shopping season could be a boon for the fledgling OEM, despite some less-than-stellar first impressions.