Finding Fun Mobile Phone Fakes in Burma

  by Dustin Main1 Comment

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With my recent trip to Burma (Myanmar) having just come to an end, I still have many tech nuggets waiting to be talked about.  The country is rapidly changing when it comes to tech, with internet cafes popping up, and mobile phones that were once unheard of are now found tucked in many a longyi.

To give you an idea of where they are in terms of mobile phones, last month GSM / CDMA SIM card prices were halved to $250USD, still putting it out of reach for the vast majority of the population.  Many of the people that have mobiles use temporary SIM cards good for a month only running about $25 a pop.

With a population that can’t afford SIM cards let alone iPhones, what you get is a lot of cheap Chinese knockoffs of the brands we know and love.  Now I’ve run into my fair share of fakes in my travels, but never as many as here.  Here are some of my favourites, including my “best of show” at the end.

The Best Features

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This “SUMSVNG” caught my attention for not only being “Number One” but having good ole “Blueteeth” support.

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This “Saly Elisom” (Sony Ericsson) was one of my favourite names (followed closely behind “Snarp”), and you’ll see this model features a “Big Trumpet.” People love blasting distorted mp3s out of tiny speakers here. This phone will set you back about $20-$25.

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If you’re looking for a rugged handset, I’m sure you can do no better than than a “Land Tiger” or a Hunm Rover.” Both feature screw down back and said they were submersible.

These babies will run you between $45USD and $75USD. Might be worth marketing these in North America if for nothing else than the giant numbers for parents and grandparents.

There were no shortage of iPhone knockoffs or those that just rip off the name. My favourite was the “iPneno,” a stylish flip phone that was marketed towards women. This silver flip will set you back a cool 45000k ($56).

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The Golden Find – The “Steve Jobs” Phone

It wasn’t until my last day in Yangon that I discovered the biggest treasure.  This phone, called the “Steve Jobs,” was the best of the knock-offs.


Coloured in gold and green, the phone was unlike the others I have come across. It was metal.  It had some heft to it.  There was an attention to detail missing from most.

It was adorned by a signature from the man himself, and lines such as “Forever Jobs” and “Reverse Thinking of Creative Design,” it was a cool looking little phone made in memory of the former Apple head honcho.

As for specs, it included a micro USB connection, dual SIM slots, memory card slot, and a laggy java interface. A camera in the back, video playback, and a speaker to blow your ears off.

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A few searches on Google hasn’t turned up anything yet for this phone. The fancy black box showed a model number of “RT-2” and some Chinese characters. Not much to go on.

While it was unique, the 85000k ($105) price tag was out of my reach. With no ATMs or credit cards in the country, what cash you bring in is all you have, and I didn’t have enough to spare. Maybe next time.

Have you spotted any crazy handsets around the world?

About the Author

Dustin Main

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Dustin just can't get enough travel or technology, but when he's not directly feeding one of those insatiable habits, you can probably find him at some far away ice cream shop taking pictures of empty cups. That, or on top of a mountain somewhere shooting photos and finding adventures to share on his website "A Skinny Escape".


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