One positive thing to report about Tesco, is that they seem to have sold at least 10,000 of these Chinese made VX1 "Party Phones" in the run up to Christmas.
The VX1 Mini-Mobile Phone is a "simple" mobile phone, aimed at people looking for a cheap emergency backup mobile phone. Allegedly, the fashion for tight jeans makes this slimline phone attractive to some female customers.
The dimensions are: 80mm x 50mm x 10.3mm i.e. smaller length and width than a Credit Card (85.60 × 53.98 mm or 3.370 × 2.125 in), but obviously thicker.
Some of the packaging describes this as a "VX1i" model, but only "VX1" appears on the actual phone itself.
We wonder how many of these small devices have already been smuggled into British Prisons ?
This phone is available from Tesco for £18.99 either online via a credit card, or, with less traceable cash at the larger Tesco branches.
Of interest to Spy Blog is the fact that, unlike the other mobile phones offered by the larger Tesco supermarkets, this phone is not locked to any particular network and supposedly accepts any GSM SIM card (obviously not 3G ones though).
By not having any SmartPhone features, there is no way for a Java applet or or other Apple style "Apps" software to be downloaded into the phone to snoop on your voice or SMS text messages, apart from the limited universal SIM Application Toolkit hacks common to all mobile phones.
This makes the VX1 Party Phone attractive to whistleblowers who might want to contact journalists or bloggers or political activists or external regulatory authorities, with less chance of being tracked down during a "mole hunt" or leak investigation - see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers guide sub-blog at http://ht4w.co.uk
Remember that the individual International Mobile Equipment Identity(IMEI) of the handset (blanked out in the photos above) is associated with every call or SMS text message made, answered, sent or received by a mobile phone, so do not be tempted to swap your "normal" SIM card into such a "disposable", single purpose mobile phone.Use a "virgin" SIM card, but do not activate it at home or your office or other locations which may help to identify you e.g. ones with lots of CCTV surveillance.
The power adapter seems to be one of the new standard mobile phone micro-USB ones.
The claimed standby battery life is
- Talk time 100 minutes
- Standby 90 hours
- Battery 400mAh
Coupled with the cheap price, this could also make this attractive as a Mobile Phone Location Based Services tracking device, which can be sneakily attached to vehicles, or baggage, or people, and then tracked via a Web based map.