Xiaomi is celebrating five years in India and they’ve announced a special sale across a huge selection of products. In the last five years, the brand has grabbed the number one spot in terms of market share, dethroning legacy giants like Samsung. How did a young brand like Xiaomi start from nothing and go on to lead the market?
The Chinese-brand entered India in 2014 and has always maintained a consistent track record of launching near-perfect phones that don’t cost a bomb. The Redmi brand in India slowly developed on the back of successful series like the Note. This one series helped the brand in establishing market supremacy in the budget midrange collection.
Then the brand cautiously went into the entry-level smartphone segment and started dominating that as well. Not only did the brand offer exceedingly competitive prices, but also flooded the market with options that covered every possible price point. We can safely call this a blitzkrieg-style strategy that overwhelmed the competitors as well as the users with products.
Xiaomi did try to launch a few flagship phones like the Mi 5, but they received a lukewarm response. The Redmi brand is synonymous with affordable phones in India, how do you break the threshold limit of INR 20,000 (US$ 290) and launch a flagship?
The importance of POCO
POCO (Pocophone in international markets) was the answer. A new sub-brand let them create a new ideology around the products and consumer expectations could be gauged. The POCO F1 started at just INR 19,999 (US$ 290) and boasted a flagship-grade Snapdragon 845 processor. This was a deal-breaker for everyone.
A new report by the Economic Times says Xiaomi could soon kill the POCO brand. It cites a few top-level exits as contributing factors, along with the recent Redmi K20 launch. It emphasizes how Redmi and Mi are now a definite position from Xiaomi and POCO was overlapping.
This is where I tend to disagree. The Redmi K20 and K20 Pro have received a lot of backlash from consumers because they feel the phones are overpriced. A constant comparison is drawn between the K20 and Realme X. The K20 starts at INR 21,999 (US$ 319) and the K20 Pro starts at INR 27,999 (US$ 406).
Let’s get one thing straight, the phones aren’t overpriced. In fact, considering what they offer, the price is on point and continues Xiaomi’s legacy of offering competitive rates. Things went wrong on the marketing front.
Users have been expecting a POCO F1 successor soon, and Xiaomi has been teasing the K20 Pro for months. The company intended the K20 Pro to be a OnePlus 7 killer, but the buyers expected a POCO-like offering.
Considering the amount of bad press Xiaomi has received, killing off the POCO brand will only add fuel to the fire. And on the flip side, a POCO F2 launch will actually douse the fire and help Xiaomi in maintaining control over all price points. The company has raised everyone’s expectations so high, it’s finding it hard to keep up with them.
Xiaomi launches Android One powered Mi A3
A clutter-free user experience
Xiaomi has launched a wide-range of phones this year in an attempt to cover every price bracket. While it has indisputable supremacy in the entry-level bracket, the brand is also slowly catching up on the premium side.
So far, all phones launched by Xiaomi are backed by MIUI. The A-series however, aims to offer a stock Android experience. Partnering with Google for Android One, the device is guaranteed to receive timely security and feature updates.
First announced in Spain, Xiaomi has now unveiled the Mi A3 in India and is available in White, Blue, and Grey. It’ll take on the Realme 5 series, Vivo Z1 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy M40. With this new phone, Xiaomi will improve upon the shortcomings of the Mi A2.
The headphone jack is making a comeback and the design has been drastically improved. The front has a 6-inch HD+ AMOLED display and it also houses the fingerprint sensor. The front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and splash resistant coating.
Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 665 processor with 4GB or 6GB of RAM and expandable storage. The rear has a triple camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary camera, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. While the front gets a 32-megapixel selfie shooter with support for face unlock.
Backing these internals is a 4,000mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. Software enhancements in the UI are non-existent because the phone ships with pure Android out-of-the-box.
It’ll be available in two configurations — 4GB+64GB costing INR 12,999 and 6GB+128GB costing INR 15,999. Sale starts from xx September via Mi.com and other offline channel partners. There’s a INR 1,000 if users purchase using an HDFC Bank credit or debit card.
Realme 5 series launches with quad-camera setup
Affordable, yet powerful
Realme and Xiaomi have been on a launch spree this year, each trying to undercut the other. The two are focused on grabbing as much market share as possible and have practically taken over the affordable segment. Realme is back with another set of offering, the Realme 5 and 5 Pro.
The Realme 5 series has been launched in India and shall be available in other international markets soon. This comes just a day before Xiaomi is scheduled to launch the Mi A3.
To start with, the phone has a new design that imitates holographic color with texture. The sides are gently curved and two color options are available — Crystal Green and Crystal Blue.
The front has a 6.3-inch Full HD LCD display with a claimed screen-to-body ratio of more almost 91 percent. The notch is smaller and houses the front camera as well as a sensor array. The complete design is splash resistant but lacks an IP rating.
Powering the phone is an octa-core Snapdragon 712 processor with a dedicated AI-engine. It has up to 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage that’s expandable via a micro SD card. For gaming enhancement, Hyperboost 2.0 is a software feature that improves refreshing and frame drops.
48MP camera on a quad-camera setup
The rear has a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary lens, an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front gets a 16-megapixel selfie shooter. The software comes with various shooting modes like Nightscape, Chromaboost, and auto HDR.
Backing these internals is a 4000mAh battery that supports VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge. The phone runs on ColorOS 6.0 based on Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box.
Pricing and availability
It’s available in three memory configurations. The 4GB+64GB option costs INR 13,999 the 6GB+64GB variant costs INR 14,999 and the 8GB+128GB variant costs INR 16,999. They’ll be going on sale from September 4 via Flipkart and other partner channels.
On the other hand, the Realme 5 comes with a similar design language, but sports a 6.5-inch HD+ display. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 665 processor with 4GB RAM in the top offering.
The quad-camera array consists of a 12-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel macro shooter, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front gets a 13-megapixel selfie clicker and all other software features remain same. Backing these internals is a 5000mAh battery.
It’ll also be available in three options. The first one comes with 3GB+32GB configuration and costs INR 9,999 the 4GB+64GB option costs INR 10,999, and the 4GB+128GB unit costs INR 11,999. It’ll be available from August 27 also via Flipkart and other partner channels.
Lastly, Realme has announced it’ll launch a new phone in September that sports a 64-megapixel camera, dubbed the Realme XT.
OPPO Reno 2 with improved camera will launch soon
Here’s everything you need to know
OPPO has confirmed it’ll be launching the Reno 2 on August 28 in India. For now, the brand has revealed it’ll have a quad-camera setup on the rear and one of the lenses will be able to deliver 20x optical zoom.
The teaser also confirmed the phone will sport a Sharkfin pop-up camera, just like the first generation Reno. It swings up from one side and looks a lot more attractive than a small square pop-up module.
Although the launch is scheduled for India, we’re confident the phone will be available in other international markets soon.
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition, on the other hand, has a triple rear camera setup at the back, while the base variant only houses a dual rear camera setup. Hence, the Reno 2 will be quite an upgrade if the camera is your priority.
It’s unclear whether the Reno 2’s 20x zoom will be hybrid, digital, or periscope, functionality-wise. The previous offering came with a 6x periscope camera, 10x hybrid zoom, and 60x digital zoom.
— OPPO India (@oppomobileindia) August 16, 2019
A similar setup is also available on Huawei’s P30 Pro, but optical zoom is limited to 5x. With the new Reno-series, OPPO intends to grab the premium market. We expect the brand to release multiple variants of the phone to improve reach across every price bracket.
For the affordable price bracket, OPPO’s sister company Realme has been doing exceptionally well in developing markets. The Chinese-brand has been launching upper mid-range phones in India for quite some time but hasn’t been able to make a significant mark yet.
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