After defeating Nokia in Q3 of 2012, Samsung now holds the crown of the mobile phone industry in terms of market share as well as units sold, there are some areas where it seems to have lost its focus. Samsung seems to be offering less value to the consumers with its devices in the lower and lower-mid range prices which are slowly driving them away. On the other hand, local brands like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava seems to be offering a huge value for money in that price range (INR 8K – 14K).
Micromax Canvas Series vs. International Biggies: Specifications Comparison, Looks Good On Paper
Micromax seems to be in forefront of focus compared to all the other local brands because of ultimate hits in the form of Micromax Canvas A100, Micromax Canvas 2 A110. Recently, it has released a new device, Micromax A116 Canvas HD whose specifications are much better than any other smartphone in its price range or even higher than that. The Canvas HD price is around INR 14K as of now. Let us have a look at its specifications and its comparison with other competing models in detail.
Micromax A116 Canvas HD
Samsung Galaxy S Duos
Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
|Processor||1.2 GHz Quad Core. MediaTek MT6589 Chipset||1 GHz Single-Core. Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7227A Chipset||1 GHz Dual Core. Broadcom Chipset||1.6 GHz Quad-Core. Exynos 4412 Chipset.|
|RAM||1 GB||768 MB||1 GB||2 GB|
|Internal Storage||4 GB||4 GB||8 GB||16 GB|
|Screen||5 Inch, IPS LCD, 1280 x 720, 294 PPI||4 Inch, LCD, 800 x 480, 233 PPI||5 Inch, LCD, 800 x 480, 187 PPI||5.5 Inch, Super AMOLED HD, 1280 x 720, 267 PPI|
|Camera||8 MP, Autofocus, LED Flash, HD 720p Video, 2 MP Front Camera||5 MP, Autofocus, LED Flash, VGA Video, VGA Front Camera||8 MP, Autofocus, LED Flash, Full HD 1080p Video, 2 MP Front Camera||8 MP, Autofocus, LED Flash, Full HD 1080p Video, 2 MP Front Camera|
|Operating System||Android 4.1.2 JellyBean||Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich||Android 4.1.2 JellyBean||Android 4.1.2 JellyBean|
|Bluetooth||v 4.0||v 3.0||v 4.0||v 4.0|
|Price (In INR)||14,000/-||12,399/-||20,500/-||33,990/-|
The Micromax Canvas HD has a capacitive HD IPS LCD screen with a resolution 1280 x 720 and a pixel density of 294 ppi that is much higher than any other device in its price range (except Lava Xolo X900, but then it has smaller screen size). It has a quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage.
On the multimedia department, it has an 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and HD video recording as well as a 2 MP camera on the front. As you can see it in this chart, offerings from bigger brands like Samsung in similar price range, you have Samsung Galaxy S Duos which has far inferior hardware specifications, be it the screen (WVGA 4 Inch LCD), processing power (single core processor), camera (5 MP, VGA Front) or battery life (1500 mAh).
HTC, LG and Sony, all on the other hand (not listed in the comparison chart), have similar offering to Samsung. All competing models, have single-core or dual-core processors, less than 1 GB of RAM and 5 MP cameras.
Micromax is out-playing Samsung in their own trick by fooling normal consumers. The specifications of their devices look better, at-least on paper to the less-geeky crowd with shallower pockets.
The “quad-core” processor (MediaTek MT6589) on the Canvas HD and “dual-core” processor on the Karbonn A21 is, for sure, not better than the dual-core processors present in Samsung Galaxy S2 (Exynos 4210), Sony Xperia S (Qualcomm Snapdragon S3) or HTC One S (Qualcomm Snapdragon S4). But a lot of the buyers don’t dig deeper in to these details, so they get an image that international brands are charging them much more for similar specifications.
People are bound to compare the Micromax A116 Canvas HD and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 because of similarities on specifications such as HD screen, 8 MP camera and quad-core processor. Even though specifications of the Canvas HD look comparable to Note 2, you can’t say that it is actually comparable in real-life performance too.
Does Software Support & Brand Name Matter Much These Days?
The biggest weapon that more established brands like Samsung and HTC have is the software/UI experience as well as the after-sales support. But do people really care?
It seems like most of the buyers in lower price segment don’t know or don’t care about these factors much. Still, the Micromax Canvas HD is coming with Android 4.1.2 pre-installed out of the box and first-time ever promised update from Micromax to Android 4.2 JellyBean.
None of the other smartphones from Micromax, Karbonn or Celkon have ever received a software update to a newer version of Android but still they are selling truck loads of devices in India.
Even on the performance part, the devices from local brands are starting to improve these days. They offer much better multi-tasking and gaming experience when compared to smartphones from international competitors at similar price point.
What Can International Brands Do To Defend Themselves?
To defend their shores, international brands can closely follow Lenovo and its strategy for smartphones. Lenovo is gunning for 3rd place in Indian smartphone market after Samsung and Nokia, and it is clearly targeting to eat Micromax’s market share.
It has already picked up a decent pace in sales, that too, without aggressive marketing. Lenovo is offering similar hardware specifications to Micromax and other local brands but with much better software experience and build quality. Apart from this, Lenovo devices also has dual SIM card slots and larger batteries which are much appreciated by Indian consumers.
From the interactions that I had with offline vendors, consumers are choosing Lenovo devices when they are made to compare devices from, say Micromax and Lenovo, side-by-side.
So, should Samsung really be worried about Micromax Canvas HD? Yes, they should, they are loosing a lot of sales for not being comparable, at least on paper.
These international brands already have good image in the market and if they can follow Lenovo’s strategy, they can defend themselves in a proper way and give a tough fight back to local emerging smartphone brands.