The fierce upward mobility of the Indian smartphone owner has surprised even experienced industry analysts. He or she may begin with a feature phone -- but peer pressure, plus the desire to squeeze some more value out of the device, will see the owner graduate to a smartphone as soon as the purse will allow.
Which is why many canny Indian makers have been aggressively pricing entry-level smartphones at near-feature-phone prices. The biggies are not blind to the trend and some of them are giving the Indian brands a bit of competition: This month saw the release by Xiaomi of a smart handset priced well below its normal range: At an online price of Rs 4499 ( the MRP is Rs 5999) the Redmi Go is a disruptive entrant into the 4k-5k-rupee band -- and the ability of the buyer to flaunt a big name may be a clincher.
Spec-wise, Redmi Go is a 5-inch HD device with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of memory expandable with a 128 GB micro SDS card. The cameras as just OK: 5 MP front and 8 MP rear, the latter with full HD 1080p video recording. A 3000 mAh battery is good for a 12-hour working day of calling and both the SIM slots are nano-size-ready and can take 4G LTE services. Xiaomi has wisely gone for the AndroidGo operating system (Ver. 8.1), optimised to run on lower powered devices -- though the Quad Snapdragon 425 is no slouch. I liked the feature which let the owner select any of 10 Indian languages, upfront, without having to drill into the settings: the makers know their market! In short, an ideal device to graduate from feature phones and starts one's smartphone journey. Welcome to the club.