Smartphones below Rs 3,000? Micromax, Lava to sell 4G devices on Android Go

In the era of digitisation, we have seen smartphone rates dipping below Rs 10,000. These rates could further go down to as low as Rs 2,500 with domestic companies like Micromax and Lava planning to market their devices on Google’s upcoming Android Go platform.

As reported earlier, Google has launched Android Oreo (Go edition) to reach out to the 40-million lower-end smartphone market in order to improve the experience of low-RAM memory devices. New applications like Files Go, which frees space on devices, find files faster and shares files offline with people nearby, also helps in collating ‘good morning’ messages on WhatsApp and deletes it automatically.

Through Android Go, companies that operate within the Rs 5,000 range such as Micromax, Lava, Karbonn and Intex will adapt to the new operating system and offer affordable smartphones with a memory of between 512 megabytes (MB) and 1 GB, reported the Economic Times. Android Go is compatible with any handset with 1 GB RAM or less.

As Android Go will launch in January, Lava and Micromax both are mulling launching their devices by January-end. The smartphones could range between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,500, the business daily added.

Expanding its affordable "Bharat" series, Micromax Informatics, last week, launched "Bharat 5" smartphone for Rs 5,555. The device has 5.2-inch HD IPS display, Android Nougat operating system, 1.3 GHz Quadcore processor, 1GB RAM and 16GB onboard memory that can be expanded up to 64GB. Additionally, it packs a 5,000mAh battery, 5-megapixel front and rear cameras with flash, delivers a run time of up to two days and has a standby time of up to three weeks.

Similarly, Karbonn plans to launch a Rs 2,500-smartphone in the second quarter of 2018. Android Go provides a great opportunity for entry-level brands that want to acquire a greater share of the smartphone market. The sub-Rs 5,000 segment contributes to 14 per cent of the 135 million smartphones expected to be sold in 2017, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

Data-saving plans with low-cost smartphones

With almost free calling and 4G data at throwaway prices, analysts expect the rate of smartphones falling up to Rs 1,500. This analysis will probably turn a new leaf in the highly expanding telecom sector. Telecom giants like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone, in neck-to-neck competition with each other, are regularly coming out with cost-saving schemes to keep their user base.

As reported earlier, India's largest telecom operator Airtel on Wednesday said it has partnered with Intex to offer a low-cost bundled 4G smartphone for Rs 1,649 in a bid to counter JioPhone. Two other smartphones — Aqua A4 and Aqua S3 — will also be available at effective prices of Rs 1,999 and Rs 4,379, respectively as part of the partnership. 

The Intex Aqua A4 features 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and an 8GB internal storage (expandable up to 64GB), 5MP rear and a 2MP front camera.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is offering an internet-enabled feature phone for a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500. Vodafone India, for example, has tied up with mobile handset firm Micromax to launch a 4G smartphone at an 'effective price' of Rs 999.