Micromax’s new Yu brand of Cyanogen OS-based smartphones were unveiled on Thursday with the launch of Yu Yureka. The smartphone, priced at Rs. 8,999, will go up for registrations via Amazon on Friday (2pm IST), and it will start shipping in the second week of January.
Early adopters will get a leather back cover worth Rs. 999 free. Notably, the company is also touting “free replacement or repair” at the user’s doorstep. The Yu Yureka (AO5510) smartphone runs on a custom-build of Cyanogen OS, Cyanogen OS 11, what Rahul Sharma, co-founder of Micromax, calls the “temple of customisation” and “Android on steroids”, boasting of the “thousands of features over and above stock Android.”
Micromax’s Yu Yureka smartphone features dual-SIM support, with slots for Micro-SIM cards (4G+3G). It bears a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display with a pixel density of 267ppi and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The smartphone notably also features Cat. 4 4G LTE connectivity with up to 150Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds, apart from Band 40 and Band 3 support.
It runs on a 64-bit 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615 SoC (MSM8939), coupled with Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The Yu Yureka bears a 13-megapixel Sony Exmor CMOS sensor rear autofocus camera with an f/2.2 aperture and flash. A front-facing 5-megapixel fixed-focus camera is also onboard.
The Yureka comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB), and sports a 2500mAh Li-Po battery claiming talk time up to 8 hours, standby time up to 310 hours, video playback time of up to six hours, and gaming up to 4 hours.
The Yu Yureka measures 154.8x78x8.8mm. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-USB, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Onboard sensors include an accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and gyroscope.
The Cyanogen OS 11 build is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat, and an Android 5.0 Lollipop-based build is promised.
Co-founders of Cyanogen Inc, Kurt McMaster and Steve Kondik, appeared at the event via webcast, and spoke about their early motivation for creating CyanogenMod, wanting to “modify and change Android” to create a mobile platform with the features “they wanted to see” on the open source operating system.
McMaster said there was a “level of stagnation in the smartphone market ever since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, where the predominant mobile paradigm was to swipe, tap, and open an app.” He explained how Cyanogen set out to defeat that paradigm. He added that the partnership will see the company bring a number of global and local services to Cyanogen in India, which he described as the the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, “There’s a battle being fought in India, and Cyanogen+Yu, we intend to win that battle.”
Other Cyanogen executives present at the event spoke of the ‘personalisation, security, performance’ of Cyanogen OS. Starting with customisations, Cyanogen stressed that Yu users will be able to modify icons, fonts, boot screen animation, taps, and more via the Themes app that will debut on the smartphone. Two free custom Yu themes will be available at launch.
As for privacy, Cyanogen said users will be able to edit and customise permissions of each app, apart from use features like Find & Wipe device, device encryption, Pin Scramble, Blacklist for spam callers, and a Protected Apps section.
Speaking about performance, Cyanogen executives detailed the camera and gallery apps of Cyanogen OS 11, and said that the current slow mo functionality at @60fps will be boosted to 120fps soon. The company also detailed that the highly-anticipated third-party Android continuity feature, NextBit Baton, which allows for backup and cloud synchronisation of logins, apart from app data and settings, will debut on the Yu Yureka. The NextBit Baton Pass feature lets users continue their work on another device. The AudioFX app’s 24-bit high-res lossless audio was also emphasised.
Interestingly, Sharma clarified that the Yureka phone will feature an unlockable bootloader, kernel source, and full Android build tree. As for power users, Micromax claims warranty will not be voided on rooting the smartphone. Commenting on the feature, Sharma said, “You are the master, you control your destiny, you create the software, we’ll put it on your devices.”