Who the heck is Plum anyway?

If you were at CTIA 2012, chances are you passed by Plum's booth and wondered the same thing we did: Plum, who?

Plum's booth at CTIA 2012. Lynn La/CNET

NEW ORLEANS--Decked out with big signs, a large lighted panel, and a red halo banner hanging up top, the 3,500 square foot booth from Plum caught the eyes of many CTIA attendees this year.

Then again, that's the point--because most people in the U.S. have hardly heard of this telecommunications company, even though it's based in Miami, Fla.

Popular in Latin American countries including Columbia, Ecuador, and Guatemala, Plum achieved success from selling dual-SIM phones. By attending CTIA this year (its first trade show in the U.S.), it's looking to duplicate that success and expand into this market.

The CEO of Plum, Sam Hussain, told CNET that his aim for the company in the next few year is to build partnerships with U.S. carriers in order to provide consumers a lineup of no-contract, dual-SIM devices.

"Our main target," he said, "is going to be regional carriers that give end-users a choice of switching their service from one operator to another."

Hussain saw this demand overseas while working at CLC Miami, a wholesale cell phone distributor. Compared to the U.S., consumers from other countries have more control over their network providers than the operators.

By offering dual-SIM phones in a number of different colors, Hussain believes customers will be attracted to the variety of options laid before them. Users can switch between networks to take advantage of lowered prices, or have both a personal and work number within the same device.

In addition to its best-selling feature phone, the Caliber, Plum's most recent lineup of unlocked devices includes your typical slew of Android handsets. The Orbit, Wicked 3G, and Capacity are all equipped with a rear-facing camera, a touch screen, and 3G connection.

Plum's Might, however, is a dead-ringer for the Samsung Galaxy Note. It has a 5-inch display, a 5-megapixel camera in the back, and 650MHz processor. Missing, however, is the stylus.

And if the Note or the Might's display size weren't enough to get the is-it-too-big-for-a-phone debate going, Plum's 7-inch tablet, Debut, can also make calls. Designed to be held horizontally for Web-chatting and media viewing, you can still dial up a friend the old-fashioned way and hold the tablet to your ear. Although, even Plum reps admitted that that looks too goofy.

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Plum has only been around for less than two years, and according to Hussain, the company has sold millions of handsets outside the U.S. Although having a big booth at a trade show doesn't mean guaranteed success, it's clear that by the number of people who stopped by its booth to ask what Plum is, the company definitely made an impression.

Sure the booth babes in high heels and short skirts helped out, but the colorful devices, informal Plum lettering, and hip brand imaging pulled people in as well.

"Plum is all about fashion, music, colors, and social media," Hussain said. "That's what our users see when they see Plum."

Catch all the latest news from CTIA 2012.

 

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