YU Televentures: Low price-high specs game not sustainable


We recently met up with man behind Yu Televentures and the co-founder of Micromax, Rahul Sharma and there was plenty to chat about. From the company’s move of ditching Cyanogen to the rise of the Chinese competition and some future launches, it now appears that there is plenty in store for YU Televentures and Micromax as a whole.

Turns out Micromax’s Yu will be the next company to shy away from using Cyanogen Inc’s mobile operating system. Lenovo CEO recently announced that Micromax no longer holds exclusive rights to Cyanogen OS in India and soon after launched its Lenovo ZUK Z1 smartphone in the country as well.

Looks like Yu Televenture’s bragging rights over the exclusive Cyanogen OS makes little sense now that the exclusive bit of the deal has ended. With more Chinese competitors jumping on to Cyanogen, Yu already has a plan. The company will be looking at releasing phones with pure Android OS, something it tried with the Yu Yunique last year and even focus on its AroundYU platform as well.

“We will not be going with Cyanogen OS in our future devices. They will be shipped with pure Android OS.” said Rahul Sharma. “You will be seeing a lot of features on our AroundYU service which will also be present on these phones. We want to concentrate on developing AroundYU platform on our Yu phones to offer even more services. We are working towards that.” he added.

Oddly, Sharma also claimed that his customers preferred (based on feedback) a pure or vanilla Android as opposed to Cyanogen’s slightly tweaked software.

This indeed is a move very similar to what OnePlus went ahead with, a few years ago when the exclusive rights to the same was granted to Micromax in India. After the legal tussle OnePlus built its own Android-based OS called OxygenOS for select markets where it could not officially offer the initially planned Cyanogen OS. The OnePlus One was the only smartphone that was allowed to officially run Cyanogen OS.

And talking about the Chinese competition, Sharma had plenty to tell us indeed. While the Chinese invasion seems to have settled, the founder admitted that he was impressed by some other their products, “Yes, there was a wave of mobile phone launches from our friends from China and we decided to wait it out. I think most of the big brands from China are already here now and some of them have some really good products.”

However, he added that such cut-throat pricing is indeed not a good move for the long run, “I feel the low price – high specs game is not sustainable in the long run. And we want to get out of that. Our AroundYU service is a walk in that direction. We have already been investing in startups and content providers since we started the company. And you can see we are using their expertise back in our products. For instance, AroundYU service uses the backend expertise of a lot of the startups we are working with.”

Obviously, we had to quiz him about future smartphone launches and turns out that there is indeed a complete portfolio of devices that are in the making. “At Yu we are always looking at the future and working. The Yu Yutopia handset, for instance, was one year in the making. Right now we are working on our portfolio which will be introduced during or before Diwali, you can call it our second generation of Yu devices.
Yu is expected to launch a flagship smartphone in the country shortly and has begun putting up teasers claiming that it will redefine flagships.


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