Micromax takes Chinese smartphone brands head-on; launches the IN Note 1, and IN 1b in India
The Indian smartphone market saw the resurgence of a sleeping giant when Indian smartphone brand Micromax announced the launch of two budget smartphones; the IN Note 1, and IN 1b in the country earlier today. While the names are sort of hard to say, both the handsets are likely to sell exceptionally well in India riding a pan-India anti-China sentiment wave following the border clashes between the two giant Asian nations back in June 2020.
Before we delve into the history of Micromax and how it became one of India’s largest smartphone brands, here’s what you should know about the two new smartphones.
Micromax IN Note 1
Perhaps, the company’s most important phone launch in six years, the IN Note 1 is currently the flagship product from Micromax. Powered by the MediaTek Helio G85 processor, this phone also comes in two variants that offer 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB storage.
The display used on the Micromax IN Note 1 is a 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel with FHD+ resolution. The 4G capable phone also gets a quad-camera array at the rear with a 48MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide, and twin 2MP sensors for depth sensing and macro photos. For selfies, the IN Note 1 gets a 16MP front-facing camera housed within a ‘punch-hole’ on the display.
With a 5000mAh battery and support for 18W fast charging, the IN Note 1 compares well against existing competition. As for pricing and availability, the two variants of the phone will be available via Flipkart and Micromax’s own store starting November 24, 2020.
Micromax IN Note 1 – 4GB+64GB – Rs 10,999 – $147
Micromax IN Note 1 – 4GB+128GB – 12, 499 – $168
There are two colour options for the IN Note 1: Green and white.
Micromax IN 1b
The second smartphone announced today is the Micromax IN 1b which is positioned well below the more expensive IN Note 1. Powered by the entry-level MediaTek Helio G35 chip, the phone is also offered in 2GB and 4GB RAM options with up to 64GB storage on the top variant.
While the IN 1b gets a 6.52-inch display, the resolution sees a downgrade to HD+ resolution – which is acceptable for a device in its price range. What the phone does offer is a large 5,000mAh battery and support for a USB Type-C port which is unheard of in this price range. While there is no fast charging support, the phone does ship with a 10W charger in the box. And yes, like its more expensive sibling, this phone also supports reverse charging.
The camera setup on the IN 1b includes a 13MP primary camera and a 2MP depth sensor. At the front, the phone gets an 8MP selfie camera.
The pricing for the IN 1b is as follows
Micromax IN 1b – 2GB + 32GB – Rs 6,999
Micromax IN 1b – 4GB + 64GB – Rs 7,999
A bloatware-free experience
An intelligent move from Micromax, the company has decided against customising their devices and will run stock Android. The company has also confirmed that both the phones shall be bloatware-free and won’t come with pre-installed apps. If that wasn’t all, Micromax also promises Android updates for up to 2 years. Both the devices currently run Android 10 and will therefore be updated to Android 11 and Android 12 – eventually.
Micromax: a brief history
For those unaware, before Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme arrived in India with their affordable smartphones, Micromax was the number one smartphone brand in the country – dislodging Samsung from the top spot. At the height of its popularity, Micromax became the 10th largest smartphone brand on the planet and even hired Hugh Jackman as its brand ambassador.
After hitting a peak in the year 2013-14, the company was effectively bulldozed by the arrival of Chinese brands who had better R&D and manufacturing capabilities. Micromax which until then was only selling rebranded Chinese phones simply couldn’t keep up with the competition and simply vanished from the market.
The company has made a comeback more than half a decade since then and now promises to deliver made in India smartphones that will give most Chinese brands a run for their money. The company also claims to have heavily invested in enhancing its manufacturing capabilities. With today’s launch, Micromax has taken a giant first step towards achieving its goal. Only time will tell if the company has the wherewithal to take on intense competition from well-placed, well-funded Chinese smartphone brands.