Just as consumers were digesting the news of Xiaomi phones being banned in India, along came shocker number two: OnePlus One phones were also banned in the country. While the Xiaomi-Ericsson patent problem seems to be getting sorted out; the OnePlus One-Cyanogen-Micromax three-way war is just about starting. And it’s going to be a bloody one, with far-reaching ramifications worldwide.
The background story
OnePlus One is a phone with the Cyanogen version of Android. The company has worldwide rights for the CyanogenMod except for use in China. The much awaited OnePlus One phone (it’s got some of the best hardware on a phone and is priced at half of any competitor’s flagship product) finally launched in India in early December.
Soon after, the murmurs started that Micromax has exclusive Cyanogen rights in India for its new online brand, Yu, and its Cyanogen-based phone, Yureka, and thus would ask for a ban on OnePlus One’s sales in the country. Turns out that the murmurs were right.
OnePlus One’s sale was banned in India, however, they were allowed to clear stock with Amazon. They were also banned from importing any phone with the Cyanogen branding or OS on it.
The banning chronicle
So, the Yu Yureka seems great and may start a new revolution but is this entire back-to-back banning controversy showcasing India in a bad light across the world? Is Cyanogen backtracking after giving OnePlus worldwide rights? Will Micromax get bad press and a consumer backlash as it has taken away the potential of people buying a brand like OnePlus in India?
Well, despite the rest of the analysts all seeming to think that the answer to all the above is Yes, I have very different thoughts. India is a market on fire and thus everyone wants a piece of the pie. So many brands are slugging it out and that’s always good.
OnePlus will come out with stock Android phones in India for the time being plus their own OS alternative to Cyanogen very soon. Cyanogen needs to do big deals and become a mainstream player as we do need solid alternatives to Google Android and some terrible skinning down by other companies! And Micromax pulled off a major coup here as the phone they’ve come out with as their CyanogenMod device is a killer product.
At the end of it all, we the consumers win on all fronts. Great phones, great prices, great features! How can that ever be a bad thing?
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, December 28
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