Chinese smartphone company Qiku, which is a brand formed out of a joint venture (JV) between security software giant Qihoo 360 and smartphone manufacturer Coolpad, on Thursday launched its first smartphone -- Qiku Terra -- priced at Rs.21,999 in an exclusive partnership with NDTV affiliate Gadgets 360.
The new smartphone, which comes with a Gorilla Glass 3 protected six-inch display packed in a smaller body (acheived by cutting down on the bezels of the phone threby increasing screen-to-body ratio), will also be available at a price of Rs.19,999 via the invites system which Qiku will roll out in December. “Users can get invites by registering themselves on the Qiku website,” Varun Sharma, head of India operations at Qiku, said.
The new smartphone will come with a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB DDR3 RAM and 16 GB of internal memory expandable up to 128 GB.
In order to support better photography, the phone sports two 13-megapixel camera at the rear with dual-tone LED flash and a eight-megapixel front shooter. The two cameras at the back will come with two different kinds of sensors with one of them aiding to capture finer detail and the other aiding to capture the right colours. Both the sensors will have an aperture of f/1.8 to to allow users to capture better shots in low-light conditions.
The new smartphone will run Qihoo’s 360 operating system on top of Android Lollipop 5.1.1 with the addition of Marshmallow-like features. The Marshmallow-like features include an app freezer named Icebox that helps cuts down data usage by apps in the background, an encryption folder to protect personal data like messages and contacts and a deep cleaning feature to kill background apps.
Other features of the operating system offers enhanced performance and extended battery life. The company said that the Terra would upgrade to Marshmallow by March 2016.
Interestingly, Qiku seems to share OnePlus’ strategy to provide consumers with flagship-like features at aggresive price points. Currently, the Chinese firm has nearly 50 employees and are planning to open a research and development centre in Bengaluru.
“Qiku, which started its operations globally in January this year and May in India, has its headquarters in Gurgaon with the addition of a small team in Mumbai,” Sharma said adding that Qihoo has around 76 percent share in the JV. Qihoo and Coolpad jointly had earlier launched a brand named Dazen which was later absorbed completely by Qihoo forcing Coolpad to launch its own brand in India.
“Although we are the owners of the two brands, they cater to different set of consumers. Going forward you will probably see a lot of synergy between the two brands in terms of manufacturing and distribution but we will continue to market them separately,” Shamra said when asked about the brands cannibalising each others’ sales.
He further added that the company was planning to run 200 plus service centres across 75 cities. “We do not own these service centres but we will be partnering with different providers for it,” Sharma explained saying plans of manufacturing, distribution and after sales service depended on how well consumers received the product.