The unbelievable $350 Escobar foldable phone won’t be showing up CES 2020



The Escobar Fold 1 won’t be at CES 2020.

Escobar, Inc

This story is part of CES 2020, complete coverage of the showroom floor for the hottest new tech gadgets around.

A $350 foldable phone named after late Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar was unveiled last month, but we won’t be seeing the Escobar Fold 1 at CES 2020. Escobar Inc has apparently been banned from the trade show, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas. 

Since the Fold 1 is considerably cheaper than the $1,500 Motorola Razr, $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold and $2,400 Huawei Mate X, it seemed like an exciting CES possibility from a relatively unknown company. 

However, an email exchange seen by CNET showed that Escobar Inc was denied booth space after the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, determined that the company was “not a good fit” for the show.

The CTA didn’t respond to a request for comment on the decision.

The company was established in 1984 and is led by Roberto De Jesús Escobar Gaviria, Pablo Escobar’s brother. Escobar Inc was supposed to occupy a small space near Samsung on the CES show floor, CEO Olof Gustafsson told CNET.

“The establishment of Samsung and the major tech companies are undermining our efforts and clearly see us as a major threat to their existence for them to outright specifically target us and our products,” Gustafsson said via email.

The Escobar Fold 1 came out of nowhere last month with a commercial showing off the shiny gold phone alongside amid a gaggle of bikini-clad women. With a price tag that’s a fraction of the cost of other foldable phones from a company with no track record of electronic products, let alone phones, the Fold 1 was immediately the subject of questions over its legitimacy. CNET has asked for a review unit. 

Foldable phones marks a potential new wave of devices, with handset makers like Samsung, Huawei and Motorola rushing to wow consumers with their new capabilities. While Escobar has ambitions to join these players, it’s difficult to take the company’s comments at face value given its outsized comments. 

“The market forces will prevail and I believe soon and share the same vision with Mr. Escobar that we will be one of the top tech companies in the world,” Gustafsson said in an email. “Samsung is afraid of this, afraid of us being at the same event next to each other where we showcase a superior product at a superior price. So they use their power to shut us down. That they forget is that Pablo Escobar was around before them and we will be around after them as well.”

Samsung didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The phone’s website and promotional videos are full of scantily clad women showing off the device, but Gustafsson said the company didn’t plan on having any such women at the show — it just wanted to exhibit the device and hold discussions with US carriers. The CTA last year instituted guidelines barring sexually revealing clothing. 

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