Micromax’s Yu Televentures bets big on services in new flagship
Micromax Informatics-owned Yu Televentures has introduced a smartphone which offers multiple service-related applications in a single swipe across its screen, making a strong move into services to differentiate itself in the country’s intensely competitive and commoditised smartphone market.
Yu is also working on a mobile wallet which can be used to pay for the services integrated in its latest flagship smartphone, Yutopia, launched on Thursday. These services will gradually be made available in all of Yu’s and parent Micromax’s devices.
These services will gradually be made available in all of Yu’s and parent Micromax’s devices.
Analysts said the move can give India’s No. 2 smartphone maker a leg up in its fight to retain the No. 2 slot in the face of stiff competition from fast rising, home-bred rival Intex.
“Probably, we’re the first handset player in the world to do this,” said Yu Televentures founder Rahul Sharma, who is also co-founder of Micromax. “With this, the app world will go away.”
He, however, said that this would only work to the advantage of apps since they will get access to a ready customer base without spending millions on customer acquisition. They would also generate revenue from this exercise which will be split between Yu and the apps.
Sharma expects Yutopia—which will be available only on Amazon.in for Rs 24,999 for pre-bookings starting Thursday and on sale from December 26—to fuel a 300% growth in sales by end of 2016, from the roughly two million units it has sold till date.
Yutopia has been assembled at the company’s Rudrapur plant, as Micromax steps up local manufacturing with the aim to shift all its production to India by 2018, mainly spurred by rising costs in China and a gradual rise in the number of component suppliers available locally. The company recently said it would invest Rs 300 crore on building new factories in India.
Yu’s latest phone has its own take on Google Now cards—which appear on Android phones that have installed Google Now launcher by swiping right from the home screen—by introducing a discovery window called ‘Around Yu’.
Around Yu’ can be accessed by swiping right from the home screen, which will take customers to a page with services to choose from, such as shopping, ordering food or booking flights. The options that appear when a person taps on, for example, cabs, include the nearest Ola and Taxi For Sure cabs and offline taxi services around the vicinity. Eventually, the service providing companies will begin providing localised discounts or deals within this window
Yu has entered the $300-400 price segment in India which is one of the least competitive yet growing price bands, and contributes close to 5% in terms of volume. Other players in this price category include Samsung, Sony, HTC, Huawei and One Plus.
For the services, Yu has dipped into the collective of companies that Micromax has invested in over the last several months, such as price comparison site Scan did and mobile travel search firm Ixigo. It has partnered with Zomato for food ordering and is in talks with Indian Railways for train bookings, Sharma said.
Yu has also made music streaming app Gaana its default music player and will offer six months of free download for users buying Yutopia. Gaana, owned by the Times Group that publishes The Economic Times, is another investee company.