Info-tech

China’s Letv ‘superphones’ to hit Indian market by year-end 

| | Updated on: Apr 21, 2015
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Letv Phones2

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After Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi and OnePlus successfully made inroads into India over the last year, Letv, among China’s leading video streaming providers, is set to make its way south to tap a ‘priority market’.

It unveiled three competitively-priced high-end ‘superphones’ – the Le 1, 1 Pro and Max – for the home market in Beijing last week, with the first two set to hit Chinese stores by May and India by end-2015. The company also said it will set up a domestic research and development (R&D) department to service local demand.

“We are treating the Indian market seriously, for us it’s as important as the one in the US. The company plans to set up an R&D department there and localise user-interface (UI) models. Ideally, we would like to set up a manufacturing unit locally. We aren’t sure that can happen immediately but that’s the direction Letv would like to proceed in,” said Tin Mok, Vice-President, Overseas Business, Letv.

Pricing policy

The phone’s run on Letv’s ‘eUI’ based on the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system, have bezels as thin as 0.8 mm and a reversible USB Type-C charging port instead of the micro-USB.

At the product launch, Letv founder and Chief Executive Jia Yueting, said they were part of a strategy to create a vertically integrated experience for users which was a middle path between Apple’s “rigid” UI philosophy and Android’s openness.

Yueting said the bill of materials (BOM) cost — which breaks down the cost of components — for the phones and said the company had set prices for the 1 and 1 Pro variants below them. For the Max, the BOM cost was provided and Letv would price it after crowd-sourcing suggestions.

The Le 1 is priced at 1,499 CNY (around Rs 15,000), while the metal-bodied 1 Pro will set customers back by 2,499 CNY (around Rs 25,000). The international versions will be supported for Google Play services.

“Pricing in India will also be according to the BOM cost and similar to those in China. We have not set a target for market share since our main responsibility is to localise the UI of the phones and TV services and put in place the Content Distribution Networks (CDN) for smoother streaming,” said Mok.

Marketing and sales channels for the Letv phones would be online although the company was yet to identify a partner. “To make content available online we will tie up with local providers including movie distributors to bring them online and share profits,” added Mok.

(The writer was invited to Beijing for the launch by Letv)

Published on April 21, 2015

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