LeEco recently made a big splash in the US. It started by selling high-end smartphones and TVs at affordable prices that are offset by its suite of services. It promised to launch an electric bike and, soon, maybe even a new car. But now the company says it’s running out of cash. Maybe you should think twice about buying a LeEco smartphone.
Look, at $299 with the discount, the LeEco Le Pro3 seems like a good deal. It sports a Snapdragon 821 processor, plenty of storage, a nice metal design and more. The appeal of the smartphone is supposed to be LeEco’s streaming services paired with the low-cut price. In the time I’ve spent with the phone, I haven’t found anything I actually wanted to watch. I had hopes that maybe that would change, but now I’m not so sure.
In a recent letter to employees, LeEco’s co-founder said the company is running out of money. It expanded too quickly, perhaps even into the US, and is struggling. “We blindly sped ahead, and our cash demand ballooned,” co-founder Jia Yueting said in an apology letter announcing he will permanently cut its salary to just $0.15 (1 yuan.) “We got over-extended in our global strategy. At the same time, our capital and resources were in fact limited.”
This isn’t to say LeEco is going to vanish anytime soon. The company still has a huge presence in China. I just wouldn’t be surprised to see it pull back its spending in the US, perhaps eventually cutting some of the program it initially announced. Can it continue to support and expand its US services? I’m doubtful if it’s running low on cash.
Hold on the LeEco LePro3 for now
I typically like to buy smartphones from established brands, though. I want to know there’s going to be support in case I damage the screen and need a replacement. I want future Android updates, software tweaks, new features. LeEco has promised much of this, but I worry that it won’t be able to deliver if its homebase decides to pull back on the quick expansion into new markets, like the US.
If you’re looking for a budget phone with high-end hardware and don’t expect much from the manufacturer in the future, you can save money with a phone like the LeEco LePro3. I suggest sitting back and waiting for a bit, though, to see what LeEco’s long-term US plans are.