Retail giant Tesco is to launch its own-brand smartphone this year following the success of its Hudl tablet in 2013. It is also planning to launch an updated Hudl 2 tablet computer, which will be released in September in time for the Christmas sales rush.
The smartphone plans were revealed by CEO Philip Clarke - the company's IT director before he took the top job - this morning.
The smartphone will offer similar specifications to the Samsung Galaxy 5, he said, and will run the Android operating system. It will also come preloaded with Tesco services, such as the Blinkbox streaming video service and access to Tesco home shopping, but will be "aggressively priced".
The announcement pre-empts the expected release of a new smartphone from online retail giant Amazon, which has been long-rumoured. Amazon has also been recruiting semiconductor design talent since at least 2012, indicating the potential depth of its plans in consumer electronics.
Tesco already operates a virtual mobile phone service, Tesco Mobile, and sells mobile phones and contracts for all networks in its largest stores.
The £119 Hudl tablet computer, meanwhile, has sold more than 500,000 units and a new version, the Hudl 2, will be released in September, he added.
Retail analysts, though, were not impressed. Independent analyst Steve Dresser said that with the company under pressure in its core retail business, CEO Clarke needed to "stick to the knitting".
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