Micromax’ first phone released under the Yu brand launched today in India, bringing solid specs and Cyanogen at a price tag of approximately $140.
Called Yureka, the 5.5-inch smartphone will go against other budget-minded devices available in India, including phones from Xiaomi and OnePlus, as well as the Google-sponsored Android One. Yureka is the first device besides the OnePlus One to run Cyanogen OS, over which Micromax secured exclusive rights in India, preventing OnePlus to continue sales in the fast growing market.
Yureka features an HD LCD display (for a pixel density of 267 ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The device is powered by a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor with eight cores, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. The dual SIM slots allow the use of 3G and Cat. 4 LTE cards, for download speeds of up to 150Mbps.
Other notable specs include a 13MP Sony Exmor sensor, as well as a 2,500-mAh battery, fitted into a 154.8 x 78 x 8.8 mm body.
Cyanogen OS 11 is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat, with an update to Lollipop promised for the close future. Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster said during the launch event that his company tries to combat the “stagnation in the smartphone market,” and acknowledged the importance of the booming Indian market: “There’s a battle being fought in India, and Cyanogen+Yu, we intend to win that battle.”
Cyanogen used the occasion to officially introduce its new Themes app, which allows users to quickly change the appearance of the phone’s UI. Two free themes will be pre-loaded on the Yureka. Another big piece of functionality is Nextbit Baton, a feature that syncs the state of various apps across devices.
The Yureka will sell for Rs. 8,999, the equivalent of $142, exclusively online through Amazon. Pre-registrations will open tomorrow at 2PM IST, with the device set to begin shipping in the second week of January. First buyers will receive a free leather back cover worth Rs. 999.
Given the aggressive price, it remains to be seen if Micromax/Yu are able to satisfy demand without resorting to the flash sales model pioneered by Xiaomi or restrictive pre-registrations (invites) like OnePlus.
The arrival of Yureka further complicates the battlefield in a market that still has huge growth potential, as opposed to the saturated Western world. Only about a tenth of India’s 900 million phone users have smartphones, and large players are already duking it out for a slice of the market. Contenders include local players like Micromax or Karbonn, Chinese upstarts like OnePlus and Xiaomi, and global powerhouses like Samsung or Motorola.
Are you impressed by the Yureka?