Micromax is set to become India’s global handset vendor
Micromax is on a high. The Indian manufacturer is challenging Samsung in the Android handset segment, and has seen a great year in which its sales have increased tenfold. Micromax also launched its first full-HD device, the Canvas Turbo last month, a device that offers features that are similar to the Galaxy S4 for half of the cost. It has been mentioned by Micromax’s CEO that they intend to sell their devices in the Russian and Romanian markets later this year, with wider market reach set to begin later next year.
The move makes a lot of sense, as the logical course of action for Micromax would be to target markets where Android is the runaway leader. The Russian mobile segment is very similar to that of India, wherein Android devices hold a majority stake at 70%. Oddly though, it is Windows Phone that grabs the second place with a 20% market share. Russia is also inundated with affordable handsets that offer features similar to those of what international vendors offer. As such, Micromax should feel right at home in the country.
Going global also has its own set of obstacles, the most notable of which is brand recognition. To tackle this issue, Micromax lured in Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador earlier this month, and its Canvas Turbo advertisement features the actor. Having a well-known Hollywood actor as the face of the brand should go a long way in ensuring that the brand gets visibility, and also garner Micromax more users in the long run.
Micromax is also taking a lot of cues from Samsung, who is the number one manufacturer of Android handsets by a large margin. Samsung is known to launch a bevy of devices in all price segments so that consumers have a wide variety of choice when it comes to selecting a device that best fits their needs. Micromax is following this trend, as this year it has launched more than 15 devices in the Indian market this year alone. The latest device to be launched is its best offering yet, and the Canvas Turbo will be a game-changer this year the same way the Canvas HD was last year.
The Canvas Turbo features a 5-inch full-HD screen with a pixel density of 441ppi, which makes it one of the best screens available on a mobile device. Only the HTC One, with its 468 ppi density, has a better screen. However, pixel density isn’t the only factor when judging the quality of the screen, so we have to wait until the device actually launches to test the screen quality. The Canvas Turbo is also different from other Micromax devices in that it is the first device from the Indian vendor to boast a full-aluminium body, and is also quite sleek as it has a thickness of just 8.6 mm.
Other hardware features on the device include a MediaTek 1.5 GHz quad-core MT6589T processor, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 13 MP camera at the back and a 5 MP shooter at the front along with a 2,000 mAh battery. The device runs Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean and costs just $325 in India. In fact, Micromax is known to offer devices with great hardware for low costs, as can be seen in this listing of Micromax mobiles price.
Unlike Samsung, however, Micromax does not bundle its devices chock full of software features its users do not need. Its software skin is also relatively lightweight and retains many of the features offered in the stock version of Android. That doesn’t mean that Micromax does not include any software additions. Features like MLive offer users a song catalogue which boasts over 100,000 songs, and these are available for download free of cost. And Micromax’s co-founder Rahul Sharma has stated that the brand will be collaborating with Yandex for offering software features on the handsets it will be selling in Russia. He also stated that Micromax is looking to acquire a software firm to offer more software features and utilities that users have requested over the years.
Micromax might be the only Indian manufacturer who is set to begin a global rollout, but it has to contend with a lot of other new manufacturers that are starting to emerge onto the global scene. The most notable such manufacturer is Xiaomi. After hiring Google’s Hugo Barra, Xiaomi signified its intention to enter the global markets, which might begin as early as next year. Xiaomi is well-known within China for its affordable handsets that come with great features and hardware. It is also known for inculcating its user suggestions in its handsets, and has garnered a lot of affection in China.
While Samsung is going strong, other established manufacturers like Sony, HTC and LG are facing a battle with local manufacturers. And with two well-known such manufacturers going global, this battle will only intensify next year.