Home » consumer computing » $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15

$48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15

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Core information:


This is a great historic moment as thanks to a highly optimized Android 2.3 (CyanogenMod 7 distribution which seems to support HW acceleration in the latest versions, see here and here, and besides about 400 people is working on Android for Spreadtrum so it definitely could have been done) version, able to run in 256MB RAM only, and the amazing ultra low-cost, but still quite well performing (Cortex-A5 @1GHz), SC6820 SoC from Spreadtrum some Chinese manufacturers behind the Mogu brand were able to bring out a sub $50 smartphone “for everybody of us”. This means not only a significant lowering of the price for the truly performing entry level smartphones, but also is marking the beginning of the demise of the classic feature phone segment. So it is a disruptive innovation of enormous significance.

Re: Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets [this same “Experiencing the Cloud” blog, July 26 – Aug 16, 2012]

Just here to notify you that SC6820-based “smartphone” will hit the Chinese market with a price as low as ¥299 [$48] next week. Link:http://www.moguphone.com/indexM0.html, note that M2 phone based on MTK6577 is also very cheap.

hyno111 on Nov 8, 2012

On the top of the indicated website one can find to following illustrative content:

– 蘑菇 人民机 means “Mushroom [the] people [machine]” as translated by Bing
-more precisely 蘑菇 mogu, the people (ordinary people) 人民, and …机 …machine but in fact …机 …phone (such as 手机cellphone) i.e. 蘑菇 人民机 means Mushroom peoplephone with Mushroom (Mogu) as the overall brand and peoplephone is a constructed noun expressing the “phone for everybody of us” idea in the most concise way as a kind of new market category name

Note that such kind of idea is deeply rooted in the history of the modern industrial world. The most vivid examples you could find in the history of cars and radios:
– The Ford Model T was the very first instance of the concept itself, then the proper naming appeared when the Volkswagen (literally meaning Peoplecar) company was founded in 1937 by the Nazi trade union, the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront) for the People’s Car project. And the basic design for the Volkswagen Beetle was conceived back in 1925 by Béla Barényi during his mechanical engineering studies, the model vision finished in 1931, and appearing on the front page of the Motor-Kritik in 1934 (see this detailed Mercedes-Benz article about him). And after World War II  France had the Citroën 2CV, Great Britain the Mini, Italy the Fiat 500, and East Germany the Trabant, just to indicate the most prominent examples of very successful “people’s cars” next to the overall leader, the Volkswagen Beetle.
– The Volksempfänger (German for “people’s receiver”) was a range of radio receivers developed by engineer Otto Griessing at the request of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Great Britain had the Utility Radio from the last year of the World War II as a similar concept as well. And later we had the Transistor radio which indeed became essential part of people’s everyday life.

After searching on the wen I found that the first information about the Mogu M0 peoplephone became available last Saturday:
199 Yuan! Mogu M0 peoplephone upcoming release: 3.5 inch bright screen [IT之家(IThome.com), Nov 3, 2012]

… Mogu Cellphone, as rumored around the continent, is about to release a “Mogu M0″ model for ultra low-cost smartphones (Mogu peoplephone). The phone has a 3.5-inch high-definition highlighted display; 1GHz CPU; 256M RAM, 512M ROM; it is running the Android 2.3 operating system; supports Bluetooth/WiFi/FM/expansion card; has a dual SIM dual standby capability; priced at 229 yuan. The first 1000 pilot machines [as told in the later announcement of Nov 8 the “the first batch of 1,000 units”]will have a price of 199 yuan.

199 yuan for a smartphone, would you have expected it?

No wonder that “the first batch has been sold out” is currently on the shopping site http://moguphone.taobao.com/ with “the second batch ready to go” whatever does it mean from pricing point of view. The latest message of Mogu Cellphone microblogging site of Sina Wibo clarified it on Nov 8 as:

[The first thousand units of Mogu M0 pilot machine, November 15, at 10 o’clock in the morning sale] at 10 o’clock on November 15th, sold 1000 limited pilot, for pilot price of 199 dollars, instead of price of 299 Yuan. Buying Platform: Taobao Marketplace address is http://t.cn/zlmnjuU (please note collection), the Taobao platform limits to buy 800 units. Open supply after November 20, the public price is 299 yuan, details, please pay attention to official Mogu website: www.moguphone.com.

The company behind the Mogu brand is the 深圳市盛谷科技有限公司, Valley Technology Co., Ltd. Shenzhen Sheng (or Shenzhen Sheng Valley Technology Limited as translated by Bing) which has a too broad About page not worth to include here. More relevant information I’ve found in the following job advertisement published on August 8:

Shenzhen Sheng Valley Technology Co., Ltd.

Emerging Internet companies, own multiple Taobao Malls, a brand for multiple manufacturers brand operation. The company mainly had an operation for high-end domestic mobile phones. Now the companies are in the high-speed development stage and require a lot of talent, we are looking for customer service, (art) designer, and administrative/executive staff. Learn more on Baidu     more on google

  • Company size :20-99
  • Company Type: Private
  • Company Industry: Computer


  • Company Web site:
  • Address: Futian District, Shenzhen Huaqiang North the SED 雅苑 5P
  • Tel: 18664986715
  • Contact: Duan Sheng (段生)
  • E-mail:

Phone quality inspector Media Manager / microblogging operators / forum operatorsTaobao managerMobile phone after-sales maintenance divisionTaobao accountingAfter-sale customer serviceThe financialHead of mobile phone salesTaobao customer service / the Taobao CommissionerTaobao customer service (Beijing)

Fast staff recruitment could have started back in July as evidenced with this Art Editor / Design job placement ad which had the same company description.

Another useful company profile given for a designer and a web programmer job as of Aug 6, 2012 is stating a 1-49 company size, private ownership and Internet/e-commerce set of activities with a different description:

Shenzhen Sheng Valley Technology Co. Ltd. is focused on independent R&D and brand management for mobile intelligent terminals. “Integration, innovation, open” is Sheng Valley Technology’s business philosophy. “MOGU Magic Valley” is the [essence of] company’s efforts to build an Internet phone brand, [with which it] is committed to providing users with customizable, cost-effective, high playability smartphone products.

Sheng Valley Technology’s mobile team: 乐蛙

Company has team of empowering entrepreneurial passion and innovation, comprising of senior members of the mobile industry, mobile Internet industry, and e-commerce industry. Our team is advocating a simple, fast, innovative, open Internet culture. The vision of the team is to use the Internet to achieve a business model of disruptive innovation, enjoy the happiness of common entrepreneurial growth.

Strategic partners:

Currently has been the telecommunications industry, China Unicom, Tapas Mobile (点心), LeWa (Le frog 乐蛙), cyanogen (CyanogenMod), Mobile uncle (www.mobileuncle.com 移动叔叔),  Seven Casket (www.7xz.com七匣子), All music (乐众), N multi-network (www.nduoa.com N多网), Mushroom Cloud Hack Machine (蘑菇云 刷机), Hack Wizard (刷机精灵等) [Shenzhen Bottle Technology Ltd 深圳瓶子科技有限公司] with which a strategic partnership is established, providing the safest, most convenient user-oriented Android OS hack machine service.

As seen from all the above Mogu as a local brand marketing company has all the critical technological and marketing ties in the Chinese Android ecosystem. With cyanogen they are even tied to the crucial Android Open Source Project via described in What is CyanogenMod [Oct 13, 2009 – Oct 17, 2012] as:

CyanogenMod(/sɪˈænoʊdʒəŋmäd/) is a customized, aftermarket firmware distribution for select Android devices.

Intended as a replacement for the software (also known as the “firmware” or “ROM”) that comes factory installed on your smartphone, CyanogenMod is based on the Android Open Source Project – the same base software used in all Android devices. However, CyanogenMod offers several benefits over the pre-installed firmware, including vastly flexible interface and customization, a wider set of new features, and sometimes significant improvements in performance.

CyanogenMod’s features may allow you to bypass software limitations imposed by carriers, which may prevent you from using the handset in a manner that they do not support. Such features include, but not limited to, the ability to overclock the device’s CPU, tether the device to your computer, or fully back up the device to your SD Card.

What CyanogenMod isn’t

CyanogenMod, however, does not “unlock” the device. Most carriers “lock” their handsets to prevent customers from buying a handset and moving to a different carrier. Carriers depend on these “exclusivity” agreements to bolster revenue. For example: if you buy an iPhone in the US, you are stuck with AT&T or Verizon, whichever you bought from. To use the handset on another carrier’s network it would be necessary to “unlock” the handset. This is done with a code based on the IMEI of the handset that can be provided by your carrier or firms on the internet that are slightly more reliable than a Nigerian Prince.

Unlocking cannot be done by installing CyanogenMod, or any other firmwarefor that matter.

The CyanogenMod firmware is currently based on code released by the Android Open Source Project’s “Gingerbread” (Android 2.3) development branch. CyanogenMod is primarily developed by Cyanogenbut includes contributions from the xda-developers community and other sources.

Licensing Controversy

Until version, CyanogenMod included several proprietary apps such as Gmail, Maps & the Android Market, which are included with stock versions of Android, but are not licensed for distribution with ‘custom’firmwares, such as CyanogenMod. Legally, Cyanogenwas not allowed to include these apps in CyanogenMod.

Google sent Cyanogen a Cease and Desist letter demanding he stop distribution of these apps and Cyanogenceased all development until a solution could be found.

The reactions of many CyanogenMod users was predictably hostile, with some claiming that Google’s legal threats hurt their own interests and violated their informal corporate motto to “Do No Evil”. After extensive media coverage (PC World, The Register, The Inquirer, Ars Technica, The H, ZDNet, Gigaom, and eWeek) and a statement from Google clarifying its position Google and Cyanogen negotiated an agreement in which Cyanogen could continue development on his firmware as long as he did not include Google’s proprietary “Google Experience” components.

To work around the licensing issues, it was further agreed that the proprietary Google apps may be backed-up from the stock firmware on the device and then re-installed onto CyanogenMod releases without infringing copyrights.

Cyanogen has warned that while issues no longer remain with Google, there are still potential licensing issues regarding proprietary, closed-source device drivers. However, he believes the licensing issues with the drivers can be worked out, and he is receiving assistance from Google employees to avoid any further licensing issues.

Furthermore the About the project | CyanogenMod [Nov 1, 2012] is giving the further up to date information:

CyanogenMod (pronounced sigh-AN-oh-jen-mod), is a customized, aftermarket firmware distribution for several Android devices (See above for supported devices & how to install CyanogenMod on said devices). Based on the Android Open Source Project, CyanogenMod is designed to increase performance and reliability over Android-based ROMs released by vendors and carriers such as Google, T-Mobile, HTC, etc. CyanogenMod also offers a variety of features & enhancements that are not currently found in these versions of Android.

More Info & Community Members

While this build is heavily optimized, it is also capable of pushing your phone much harder. CyanogenMod and it’s team hold no responsibility to any damage caused to your phone, loss of earnings as a result of damaging your phone or anything else that is connected to the development of this rom.

For a list of devices officially supported by CyanogenMod, check out the official devices page. Such is the craze for CyanogenMod, that devices that aren’t officially supported, still manage to receive ports of the ROM courtesy of enthusiasts and developers. CyanogenMod offers the most barebone Android experience coupled with some very powerful tweaks. This whole package by now is not wholly developed by CyanogenMod developers alone, but is a collaborative effort between them and independent developers on sites like XDA-Developers.

Right now, CyanogenMod consists of two parallel and active major versions: CyanogenMod 7 is based on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and CyanogenMod 10 is based on Android 4.1 (JB); CM10-capable devices are being phased out of CM7, but since there’s a large amount of devices still on the market that aren’t capable of fully running Android 4.x, CyanogenMod 7 exists to support them.

The variants of the firmware are split into categories, such as: Stable, Release Candidate, M-series and Nightlies. The Stable version, as suggested by the title, is the tried and tested variant of the firmware proven to be mostly bug free and suitable for daily use. The latest stable version is available for an assortment of the officially supported devices. A Release Candidate (RC) build may not be the final version, but a variant that has no fatal flaws or bugs, on the stabilization stages to become the final product that is the Stable variant. M-series releases behave similar to the RCs, but are considered ‘stable’ for our users.  Lastly we have the Nightlies, which are as volatile as a firmware can get. These releases keep coming at an interval of a day or two and if you do end up trying one of these, do not be alarmed if the your device goes cuckoo on you. These ROMs are largely untested, and as advised by CyanogenMod, not meant for use for an average user. These releases, are meant to test untested waters that may or may not break your phone.

This CyanogenMod capabilities explain the following specification parameters of Mogu M0:
Android 2.3

From the same specification list it is also important to note here:
resolution: 320×480
battery: 1280mAh

Furthermore: You can find all the information about the SC6820 story in the referred Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone marketspost. In order to have an immediate impact and convenience I will reproduce here the Spreadtrum product page as well:

SC6820 EDGE/GPRS/GSM 1GHz Low-Cost Smartphone Platform [Feb 29, 2012]

Designed with 40nm CMOS silicon, the SC6820 is a highly integrated, low-power platform for EDGE/WiFi mainstream smartphones.  The single-chip solution supports multimode EDGE/GPRS/GSM and integrates a Cortex A5 1GHz processor, a dedicated GPU for graphics acceleration, and power management.  Bringing the web and graphics performance of high-end handsets to the low-cost market segment, the SC6820 is delivered with turnkey Android and systems software that reduces the design time and resources required to deliver new handsets to market.

SC6820 Baseband Diagram

SC6820 Key Features

Core Description
  • ARM Cortex-A5 core, clock speeds up to 1GHz
  • Integrated DBB, ABB and PMU
Communication Features
  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE standards, GSM850/EGSM900/DCS1800/PCS1900
  • EGPRS Class 12
Multimedia Support For
  • Mali 400 GPU: 30MTri/s, 256Mpix/s, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0
  • Decoder: MPEG4/H.263 720p@30fps; H.264 WVGA@30fps; VP8 WVGA@30fps
  • Encoder: H.263/H.264/MPEG4 WVGA@30fps
  • Video Streaming: MPEG4/H.263/H.264 WVGA@30fps
  • 3G-324M Video Telephony
  • 5 MP Camera Sub-system JPEG decoder/encoder (32MP/s)
  • Audio codec included
LCD Display Features
  • Supports up to WVGA [800×480] resolution
  • Built-in LCD Controller, touch panel controller
  • Support for dual color LCD display modules
  • Supports OSD / Rotation / Scaling
Memory I/F Support For
  • 4Gbyte NAND flash (8 bit and 16 bit devices)
  • HW ECC, multi-bit ECC
  • 1Gbyte SDR/DDR SDRAM (16 bit and 32 bit devices)
Peripheral I/F Support For
  • HS USB 2.0
  • 3 x UART with built-in IrDA controller
  • 2 x SPI interface, 3-wire SPI, 4-wire SPI, synchronous SPI
  • 4 x I²C interfaces
  • 2 x I²S and PCM interface
  • 2 x SDIO interfaces
  • 2 x SIM/USIM interfaces
  • 4 x PWM outputs
  • ETM port
  • More than 100 GPIO pins
  • 8 * 8 keyboard interfaces
Other Features
  • Operating ambient temperature range: -45℃ to +95℃
  • Low-power design, chip core voltage: 1.8V
  • 13mm × 13mm 454-ball LFBGA package, 0.5mm ball pitch


  1. […] indeed the revitalised whitebox ecosystem is doing the job, and in the most wonderful way, see $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [Nov 9, 2012], which is the first “lead post” on my trend tracking blog because of […]

  2. […] to remind you:- The SoC behind the $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [this same blog, Nov 9, 2012] is sold for about $6 according to CEO of Spreadtrum saying that 37% […]

  3. […] here which are mainly based on supply chain trends and market changes observed already in 2012): – $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [Nov 9, 2012]- Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level […]

  4. […] is directly related to China as the leading market for smartphones already (see this, this and this) which will become the case for the tablet market as well in […]

  5. […] a perfect entry barrier against the onslaught of the entry level Android devices as well. I mean:- $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [Nov 9, […]

  6. […] as $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [Nov 9, 2012]now Mogu S2 went on sale today [China Smartphones, April 22, […]

  7. […] last 12 months and you can observe a “race to bottom” phenomenon among those vendors. See here, here and here.)New Nokia Asha 501 Television commercial [nokia YouTube channel, June 26, […]

  8. […] $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 9, 2012] […]

  9. […] $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on… [Nov 9, 2012] […]

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