Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced a new entry level smartphone at an event in Delhi.
The entry-level smartphone is targeted at the Indian market and looks intended to woo feature phone owners to upgrade from a more basic mobile.
It runs Google’s flavor of Android optimized for low-powered smartphones (Android Go) which supports lightweight versions of apps.
Under the hood the dual-SIM handset has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset, 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage (though there’s a slot for expanding storage capacity up to 128GB).
Also on board: 4G cellular connectivity and a 3000mAh battery.
Up front there’s a 5 inch HD display with a 16:9 aspect ration, and 5MP selfie camera. An 8MP camera brings up the rear, with support for 1080p video recording.
At the time of writing the Redmi Go is being priced at 4,499 rupee (~$65). Albeit a mark-down graphic on the company’s website suggests the initial price may be a temporary discount on a full RRP of 5,999 rupees (~85). We’ve asked Xiaomi for confirmation.
Xiaomi’s website lists it as available to buy at 12PM March 22.
While Xiaomi is squeezing its entry level smartphone price-tag here, the Redmi Go’s cost to consumers in India still represents a sizeable bump on local feature phone prices.
For example the Nokia 150 Dual SIM candybar can cost as little as 1,500 rupees (~20). Though there’s clearly a big difference between a candybar keypad mobile and a full-screen smartphone. Yet 3x more expensive represents an immovable barrier for many consumers in the market.
The Redmi Go also looks intended to respond to local carrier Reliance Jio’s 4G feature phones, which are positioned — price and feature wise — as a transitionary device, sitting between a dumber feature phone and full-fat smartphone.
The JioPhone 2 launched last year with a price tag of 2,999 rupees (~40). So the Redmi Go looks intended to close the price gap — and thus try to make a transitionary handset with a smaller screen less attractive than a full screen Android-powered smartphone experience.
That said, the JioPhone handsets run a fork of Firefox OS, called KaiOS, which can also run lightweight versions of apps like Facebook, Twitter and Google.
So, again, many India consumers may not see the need (or be able) to shell out ~1,500 rupees more for a lightweight mobile computing experience when they can get something similar for cheaper elsewhere. And indeed plenty of the early responses to Xiaomi’s tweet announcing the Redmi Go brand it “overpriced”.