Now a Xiaomi phone for 6,999

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 - 5:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Desi budget smartphones face a wipe-out as the Chinese giant offers high-end features in sub-7k range

Chinese mobile phone giant Xiaomi which has created ripples in the smartphone middle-market in India by their aggressive pricing and flash-sale only strategy, is now set to crack open the low cost smartphone market with Redmi 1S priced at Rs6,999.

The Redmi 1S comes packed with a 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal memory which is expandable via the microSD card slot, a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display, 2,000mAh battery and 8-megapixel rear/1.6-megapixel front camera setup. The device is designed to run on Android 4.3-based MIUI v5. Other features include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG, GPS and a 2,000 mAh battery. The multitouch display comes hardened with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating. Quite a handful and experts say, quite a bargain.

On the receiving end of this battering ram of a phone is Moto E from Motorola and phones of home grown biggies Micromax's Unite priced at Rs6,949 and Karbonn's Titanium S5 priced at around Rs7,149, both with dual sim and Quad core processor.

Xiaomi's Redmi 1S is expected to far outperform its competition. Redmi 1S comes equipped with the Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.6 Ghz which is not only better than the Moto E but also outclasses the Moto G now priced at Rs13,999. It's not only the processor, Redmi 1S is also equipped with an 8 megapixel camera which is non-existent in its price range.

"Xiaomi has got an edge over other budget smarphones because of all the competition with Apple, which has given Xiaomi a brand like status," said Manna Kanuga, who keeps a watch on the smartphone market.

India's smartphone martket is expected to touch 80.57 million units by end of the year. India also witnessed the highest rate of growth of 18% in the this segment in Asia-Pacific region, according to the findings by research firm IDC.

The low end smartphone market is expected to witness a bloody price war and the resultant hemorrhaging will see smaller players take a bit hit. Micromax and Karbonn has to put in cash and push new technology and Chinese giants Xiaomi and Lenovo are trying to blow away competition, like they did Samsung whose sales have come down by 9% this year and profit sank 25%.

In this cut-throat atmosphere it is almost impossible for high-end smartphone to make any impact. After Samsung, Apple's iphone 6 which is expected by the end of the year priced at around Rs40,000 will be a tough sell. iphone will have a sapphire glass cover which is scratch and crack proof. Samsung is trying its luck with a curved phone yet to enter India.

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