Published on January 5th, 2015 | by Sunit Nandi1
My thoughts on the Micromax Yu Yureka and its repercussions on the Indian market
We all have been watching the fashion of smartphone sales for a long time in India, considering India is one of the biggest markets for cellphones and consumer electronics. The trend has finally shifted away from flagships towards value for money devices. The reason being that devices are already more than powerful enough for daily use. Also battery life, ruggedness, ergonomics and pricing are more important in today’s scenario.
This trend was started off by small players like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava in the early days, who offered better specs with more competitive pricing. Gionee, Xolo and other smaller brands also started to deal with smartphones and continued this trend.
The trend became more aggressive with time, with Motorola launching the Moto G, Moto E and Moto X to bring flagship like experience to lower price brackets. The G and the X have already sold millions of units and now the second generation of devices are already selling.
Then came Xiaomi to the picture. With their innovative manufacturing, advertising and pricing strategy, they have kept the hype around their product high, thanks to their association with Flipkart and the flash sales they have run so far.
The consumers have already gotten used to better specced devices at lower prices. This is visible because the sales in the mid-range price brackets are moving away from Samsung and Sony to Motorola, Micromax and other players like Xiaomi. The Android One program has also enabled Micromax, Karbonn and Spice to sell low cost Android devices that are officially supported by Google and receive firmware updates from Google directly.
Things were going all well and even OnePlus One started to sell units in India from Amazon. Then in a twist of fate Cyanogen Inc decided to partner exclusively with Micromax to launch the Yu Yureka, thus barring OnePlus One from shipping with CyanogenMod in India and preventing Indian OnePlus One units from getting OTA updates.
The Yu Yureka
The Yu Yureka comes with:
- a Snapdragon 615 Octa-core 64-bit processor
- Adreno 405 GPU
- MSM8939 LTE chipset
- 2GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 5.5 inches 720p HD IPS display
- 13MP rear & 5MP front camera
- 2500 mAh battery and 4G+3G dual-SIM support
This is all fine and dandy for a smartphone, but what makes the buzz here is that:
- It ships with the famous CyanogenMod 11
- It can be rooted without sacrificing the warranty
- It can be modded and custom ROMs will not impede after sales support
The fact that a developer-grade phone has appeared in the lower price bracket is enough for us to recalibrate our expectations of phones in all price categories.
The current smartphone trend and launch of the Yureka has affected the Indian smartphone market in a pretty peculiar way.
- Smartphones have become drastically cheaper, enabling everyone, including the lower middle class and students to buy and use them freely.
- Many smartphones are now guaranteed to receive the latest software updates as and when they arrive.
- Manufacturers are trying to optimize their devices for better battery life and physical strength rather than adding more processing power with every new model.
- The growth of smartphone sales have helped many Indian startups to start businesses in the app and mobile market. Hike messenger, Paytm, Freecharge, Saavn, Gaana, etc. are good examples.
- Developer phones in the lower price brackets will encourage more users to modify the software on their phones according to their liking (without losing warranty), freeing the end-user to from sticking to manufacturer supplied software and firmware, thus increasing the overall demand for customization and system-level apps/utilities.
- The sustainability of the low-cost model is a huge matter of concern. Lower profit margins means manufacturers will have to find other ways of getting revenue. This includes exclusive apps and app sales to drive up the profits.
- The low-cost model also means that manufacturers are more likely to use data collected from users to deliver ads and build profiles to sell tracking information to earn money. Since an average Indian is less likely to buy apps or upgrade to paid plans, data marketing will be a more popular practice.
- Manufacturers will spend less money in advertising their product in the media, and focus more on other tactics to build the hype like store exclusivity and flash sales. As dependence on online stores continues to rise, such phones will be less and less available in brick-and-mortar stores.
- Manufacturers will spend lesser and lesser on after sales support and warranty. Getting products repaired will be a more painful and time consuming process and honouring the warranty will become a tougher job. Overall, the lower device cost and smaller profit margin will make the manufacturers encourage the users to dispose of their devices and buy a new one instead of getting them repaired. We may even get to see warranty-less devices in the coming future.
- Awkward lawsuits and patent infringements allegations among manufacturers will become more commonplace.
There is a saying that goes “The smartphone is only as smart as the user”. The changing trends have brought a lot of positive changes to the average smartphone user by giving him cheaper devices, faster software updates and greater freedom and control over the software it runs. The Yureka takes it a level further. However, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean better and new business models could prove to be more invasive in terms of privacy and less of a convenience in after sales support. Its completely upon the end user how he deals with the new challenges that come up and how well he adapts to the trends.
In case you are seeking to buy the Yu Yureka, you can get it off Amazon.in for INR 8999. Also, CashKaro is providing coupons and offers to get the Yu at an even cheaper price and with additional cashback.