Thankfully, this isn’t a story that starts with ‘Once upon a time...’ and there’s almost no chance that it will end with ‘... they all lived happily ever after’.
Yet, it’s a radical story, and one that isn’t just about reviewing three new phones (that’s in here too) or explaining how they are going to change the rules of the game (that is going to happen for sure, too).
Those are old stories. This is a brand new one.
It may be called that, but to many, that actually is a disservice to the company that has become the number one seller of phones in all of China, displacing Samsung, Apple and a host of other homegrown, established players.
That’s an exciting position for a company to be in, especially for a company that didn’t even exist four years ago.
Xiaomi entered India last year with a big flash (sale) and dominated the market as well as the headlines.
More people were buying a Xiaomi phone than could spell or pronounce the name.
Many have tried to analyse the success of this enfant terrible – they don’t copy others, they create an artificial scarcity, the CEO has become an icon like Steve Jobs (almost dresses like him too), and they sell at cost (sometimes way below) and make up by selling content (like Amazon).
Thus the brand took off like a rocket in India and the first few phones were as coveted as a Kim Kardashian full frontal (hmmm, maybe I need to change that analogy but you get the gist).
But, of late, there have been blips with a few phones not doing that well. The phone that is supposed to put them back in the front seat is the Mi4i.
A unibody design, 5inch full HD 1080P screen, sunlight readability mode, 3120mAh battery with fast charging, Snapdragon 615 chipset, 2GB of RAM, 13MP camera on the back and 5MP on the front.
To those who are scratching their head thinking whether this makes it a seriously top-of-the-line phone, yes, it does. Then there’s the typical shocker with the price: Rs12,999. The mid-priced phone market is about to get a serious makeover. Story 2: Macro Plans
Micromax has been the golden child of the Indian market for a long time. Till they got completely ‘Xiaomified’.
Micromax was the champ of old-school distribution and retail networks till Xiaomi came and rewrote the whole
business model. Micromax, in turn, answered with their own brand YU which followed the same
principles of sell at cost, only they did so online, creating serious buzz through manufactured scarcity.
With its all-new phone Yuphoria, Micromax is taking the game one notch higher and pulling a Xiaomi on Xiaomi itself!
It’s got a metal body, a 5-inch and 720p screen, Snapdragon quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage space, 8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera and a head scratcher of a price – Rs 6999.
That’s seriously low for a metal frame phone with 2GB of RAM and much better optics than the competition. It’s going to compete against the Xiaomi Redmi 2, the Motorola Moto E and the Lenovo A6000 in a winner-takes-all battle.
And, it’s going to be made in India, after the first few pieces come in from China. Watch the 6K price market become an all-out war from hereon. Story 3: Enter the dragon
While it’s not a re-run of the Bruce Lee movie, the karate chops do have the same intensity. It’s a new entrant in India and one that you may not have heard of at all: Coolpad.
It is a Chinese giant that is the third largest smartphone company in China and the sixth largest worldwide. While many wonder why it took them so long to enter the land of opportunity, it’s good that they are finally here as this company thrives on innovation.
They have a long series of patents that they hold in the mobile industry, and have recently got a patent for
a totally frameless phone.
While that phone may still take a few months to come out, what we do have here is the Dazen 1. A sleek mono-bloc phone design, a 5inch HD and 720p screen, great processor, 2GB RAM, 8MP back and 5MP front camera and a 2500mAh battery.
And to show the full force of their innovation, this phone also has a patent battery technology that bumps up the performance of that battery by 50% using hardware. The final kicker is the price: Rs 5,999. Coolpad is about to heat things up in India like never before.
Winner takes all
Every good story has a moral at the end. So does this one. These three companies with these three products aren’t just rewriting the rules but also bringing in products at price points that were unimaginable, even one month ago.
This is the dawn of a new era where even those on very low budgets will be able to get a phone that will give them the performance and features of a top-of-the-line flagship phone.
This changes everything and every mobile company will have to set their collective behinds on fire to compete. The Indian consumer will live happily ever after.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, May 31
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