Vivo has a new smartphone to offer to customers in its most important overseas market. The China-based phone maker today launched the Vivo Y55L in India, the rather poorly named successor to a phone it announced in the country in January this year.
October sounds too early a month to be rolling out a replacement model of a phone that hasn’t spent much time on shelves, but that’s how some smartphone companies roll these days. Xiaomi has been extra busy lately, pushing out devices left and right; LeEco, another Chinese company, has been keeping tech writers busy all year. Both companies are expected to make a strong push for the fickle U.S. market over the coming years.
Vivo, meanwhile, has cast its eyes over the Far East where it is doing incredibly well. It has already shipped one million phones in India in the quarter of June 2016. It is reportedly targeting a 10 percent market share in the country by next year.
Vivo currently has a solid portfolio of “value for money” devices. And the Y55L seems to already have a foot in that space. The handset looks a bit like the Vivo V3 (a good thing), except it has visible antenna bands that run along the top and bottom of the rear cover. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 system-on-a-chip with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and support for both LTE data and voice services.
It also features a split-screen mode, like the one Google employs in Android Nougat, though users might not be too keen to try it on a 5.2-inch display.
The Vivo Y55L will retail for 11,980 rupees, or around $180, and will be available online and offline across India.
Apple iPhone sales have dropped considerably in India
And yet, don’t expect any more discounts
India is the world’s second-largest mobile phone market and every company is looking forward to expanding its operations in the country. But things haven’t been going well for Apple. India is a developing market, and a majority of smartphone sales belong to the budget and midrange segment; the premium segment has also lowered in price considerably thanks to OnePlus and Huawei.
While Samsung has managed to price its flagships at around INR 60,000 (US$ 435), Apple’s iPhone X starts at a whopping INR 90,000 (US$ 1,300). According to a report from Counterpoint Research, Apple shipped 3.2 million iPhones in 2017. Coming to 2018, the company has managed to ship “fewer than a million devices,” giving it a market share of just two percent.
Apple is struggling because it has no new or attractive devices in the INR 30,000 to 60,000 (US$ 435 to 875) range. Why would a consumer shell out such a huge amount for a two-year-old iPhone 6s when there’s a brand-new OnePlus 6, ZenFone 5Z, or Honor 10 available?
Apple is having a hard time keeping the prices in check because of a 20 percent import duty being levied by the government. All other companies have already started assembling a major chunk of their portfolio in India, while Apple is stuck to a couple of devices. In fact, Samsung just inaugurated the world’s largest manufacturing facility last week in Noida, India.
Apple’s trouble doesn’t end at bad sales, though. Three high-level executives have left the company due to restructuring of operations. Apple has also established a new sales audit team that is working on reducing the number of discounts being offered by retailers. The new strategy has already seen the company move away from five national distributors to two to tighten distribution.
Apple wants to offer a full-fledged premium experience to its users, and hence, wants sales to happen through authorized channels only. The giant has started clamping down on smaller physical stores and unauthorized sellers who hoarded products at wholesale value and then offered deeper discounts.
While discounts mean higher sales, Apple wants to gain market share without affecting its brand value in the country. The company’s products are known to have a high long-term shelf value and price cuts are rare.
OPPO has brought its most innovative smartphone to India
OPPO now wants a part of the premium market
Just last month OPPO unveiled the Find X at a grand launch event in Paris, France. OPPO hasn’t launched its innovative top-tier smartphones in India up till now and always targeted the budget and midrange markets. With the Find X, things are slowly changing.
The phone comes with a premium price tag of INR 59,990 (US$ 875) and will be available for purchase starting August 3 through Flipkart and offline retailers.
The highlight of this phone is a motorized camera slider that houses both the front and rear cameras. By shifting the cameras and sensors, OPPO has been able to increase the screen-to-body ratio and managed to remove the controversial notch. In fact, OPPO has also added an infrared scanner on the front that helps unlock the phone via 3D facial recognition.
The slider takes just 0.5 seconds to pop up and it automatically slides up and down whenever the camera app is opened or the phone needs to be unlocked. Being a premium handset, it sports an all-glass design with the back offered in stunning Glacier Blue and Bordeaux Red colors.
It has a 6.42-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a high 93.8 percent screen-to-body ratio and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. A Snapdragon 845 SoC powers the phone along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of non-expandable internal storage.
On the rear, it has a combo of 16- and 20-megapixel sensors while the front has a single 25-megapixel shooter. The cameras are integrated with AI detection that can optimize pictures for 21 different scenes. The AI also helps in beautification and portrait captures. Just like Apple’s Animoji, OPPO too has Omoji support in the front camera and many more animated caricatures are expected to roll out soon.
The phone packs a 3730mAh battery with OPPO’s proprietary VOOC fast charging. Yes, the phone is also dual-SIM and runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo-based ColorOS 5.1. Keep in mind, this phone doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner and instead relies on 3D facial recognition.
Motorola launches battery-centric E5 and E5 Plus
Big on battery, not your pocket
The Moto E5 and E5 Plus have finally made their way to India months after the global unveiling. The Moto E5 Plus is an Amazon-exclusive and is already available for purchase while the E5 is exclusively available via Moto Hubs around the country.
The Moto E5 costs INR 9,999 (US$ 145) while the bigger sibling costs INR 11,999 (US$ 175). Those who buy the device from a Moto Hub outlet will get a INR 1,200 voucher on purchases made using Paytm Mall.
With this duo, Motorola is concentrating all its marketing efforts on the battery. The Moto E5 has a 4000mAh battery while the Moto E5 Plus has a capacity of 5000mAh. The two also support the company’s TurboPower charging technology via a 10W adapter. Moto says the E5 Plus can give 200 hours of non-stop music playback or at least 20 hours of web browsing on a single charge.
Coming to the specs, the E5 has a 5.7-inch HD+ LCD while the E5 Plus has a 6-inch HD+ LCD. Both share the same aspect ratio of 18:9. As far as similarities are concerned, both ship with Android 8.0 Oreo along with a few Moto-exclusive tweaks in the UI.
The Moto E5 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC bundled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. On the back, it sports a 13-megapixel camera while the front has a 5-megapixel sensor along with an LED flash.
On the other hand, the Moto E5 Plus is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 435 SoC along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. The back has a 12-megapixel camera and the front has an 8-megapixel camera together with an LED flash.
They both have a fingerprint scanner on the back embeded in the Motorola logo and dual-SIM support. Four color options are available — Black, Mineral Blue, Flash Gray, and Fine Gold.
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