Until this time last year, Micromax had been selling well-specified phones at a fraction of what the big brands had been charging for years. However, it was seen by many as an inferior brand that sold in smaller towns and villages. Power users and image-conscious buyers continued to stick with the big brands that offered performance, looks, and spared the user the “embarrassment” of appearing in public with a lesser quality smartphone. Today however, Micromax is looking beyond the price war and wants to reposition its flagship brand as a premium offering.
Micromax CEO Vineet Taneja recently described to NDTV how the Indian mobile giant intends to focus on improving its design and service, and is actively maintaining new products like the Canvas Knight. 2 out of the price war segment.
That makes sense, because when Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 3 (Review | Pictures) this time last year, it sent shockwaves through the industry. It also made people wonder about the need to spend a lot of money when you could get a high-end device at a fraction of what they used to pay. Today, dozens of people who once turned their noses up at anything short of a big name are signing up to buy budget phones. Suddenly spending Rs. 40,000 on a new phone seems like an incredibly wasteful thing to do. So began the price war, and I like to call all the phones that participate in it “price war smartphones”.
(See also: 2014 – Year of the smartphone price war)
I don’t like the “price war” category and I firmly believe in high-end smartphones. Call me a waste, call me “that snob” with too much disposable income, and give me dirty looks every time I berate MIUI if you have to. But the thing is, I’ll keep buying flagship phones, I’ll keep laughing at your cheap smartphone, and I’ll gladly drop half a lakh on a new phone. The superior smartphone experience comes at a price, and I think it’s a price worth paying.
The smartphone isn’t just something you’ll use for a few hours a week; it’s the most important gadget in your life. It’s always with you, it sleeps next to you, it’s in your hands for a few hours every day, and it’s your pocket window to the world. You’ll probably be spending at least a year with it, so you want to make sure it’s perfect for you. You want the experience that’s right for you, and most importantly, you want it to be consistent and reliable. You’ll likely get all of this from a well-designed, high-quality flagship from one of the established brands, like Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, or Motorola.
I’ve been using an HTC One M8 for a year now. Until now, one year was the longest life of a smartphone. But for the first time, I don’t feel like an upgrade. I will use my M8 for another year at least, because for the first time I use a complete smartphone. It looks great, it feels like a million bucks, it works with the same consistency and capability today as it did on day one, and has what is arguably the best user interface and software in the world. .
Even if I lost my phone today, I would probably buy another HTC One M8. Call it ridiculous, but there’s a sense of satisfaction in being the smartphone elite. There’s pretentious pride in pulling off solid metal smartphone bling, while others wipe fingerprint smudges off their plastic phones.
(See also: Flagships are going metal, but I want plastic)
With the launch of Yu Televentures, Micromax also released its core brand from the segment. It’s a smart decision; why wage an uphill battle and cannibalize your own affiliate when there is a whole other segment ready to be exploited? Micromax is already the number two mobile phone vendor in India and can leverage its wide reach and scale to establish itself as a quality player in the global high-end market. If all goes well, then maybe, just maybe, I might consider buying a Micromax in a few years.
So, appeal to your sense of pride and your snobby, materialistic side; stop being a stingy and let the price war pass. Save a little, plan your next smartphone as a “two or more year old” purchase, and go buy something fancy. Get something with metal or leather on the back, a flagship SoC, and a screen where you can’t spot individual pixels. Never settle.