Realme today marks its second anniversary as it celebrates two years in the smartphone industry in India. The brand, which was founded in 2018 under the umbrella of Oppo, has become one of the fastest-growing smartphone brands in the country.
During this time, the company introduced a plethora of smartphones and in 2019, it also entered into different segments including accessories, fitness, financial services and more. However, the company was marred with some controversies as well. In this article, we are going to talk about the highs and lows of the brand, Realme.
Launching first 5G smartphone in India
Starting with highs, Realme was the first brand in the country that introduced a 5G smartphone with Realme X50 Pro. Although at a time when most of the 5G smartphones were expensive, the Realme X50 Pro was priced at Rs 37,999. This coupled with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor further sweeten the deal for the masses.
Becomes 4th largest smartphone brand in India
The company become the fourth largest smartphone brand in Q1 of 2020 surpassing its parent company Oppo and other new brands that entered the Indian smartphone market. The brand showed a Y-o-Y growth of over 119 per cent and is one of the major players in the online segment.
Entering offline market
The year 2019 is also special for the brand as it entered the offline smartphone market this year. The company opened many offline retail outlets across India during the year and it expanded its distribution channels to Tier-4 and Tier-5 cities as well.
The major standout point here was the fact that most of the players have disparity when it comes to the pricing of online and offline smartphones. However, Realme revealed that it will keep the pricing of its smartphone same across both offline and online platforms.
Realme’s vast catalogue
Realme tried to came out from its budget-only segment image and introduced smartphones in the different price range. The company’s cheapest series if Realme C series that starts with Rs 6999, while the Realme number series takes the budget segment.
Lastly, the Realme X series lies between the mid-range to premium segment. The company introduced two flagship smartphones in 2019 with Realme X2 Pro and Realme X50 Pro.
Realme introducing new technologies
Realme is also credited for bringing new technologies to its user base. At a time when most of the companies were providing 60Hz refresh, Realme introduced 90Hz screen refresh rate with its range of smartphones.
Furthermore, the company was one of the first to introduce India’s NavIC support with its Realme 6 series. Furthermore, the brand also entered the IoT segment and revealed its plans of introducing a range of smart accessories including its wireless earbuds, fitness bands and more.
It also revealed its plan to launch Smart TV.Realme has announced that it will be launching its first Smart TV, the Realme TV in India first. The Smart TV will be launched in the country by Q2 of 2020.
Entering the accessories market
Realme wanted to become more than a smartphone brand and this is why it also entered the accessories market. The company introduced a slew of products in the accessories market including Bluetooth-enabled neckbands, wireless earbuds, fitness band, covers and headphones.
The Realme Buds Wireless was one of the first products launched in this direction. It comes packed with 110mAh battery and has 12 hours battery life with support for fast charging that can offer 100 hours of playback with 10 minutes of charging. It has support for Bluetooth 5.0 with Bestechnic chip, 11.2mm Bass Boost driver.
The Budswere priced at Rs 1,799 and it become an instant hit among the users as the neckband delivered some good audio quality at a cheaper price point. The company then introduced Realme Buds Air, which was priced at Rs 3,999. The first wireless earbuds once again garnered some positive response from the customers and it become the second best-selling TWS product right after Apple’s Airpods in India.
Realme also launched the financial service Realme Paysa. The service providesinstant loans to individual and Small & Medium Enterprises (SME).
For individuals, one can take loans from Rs 8,000 to Rs 1,00,000 through the app and it comes with flexible repayments from 3 months to 12 months. The loan service is partnered with EarlySalary.
What TMI Report Card 2019 said for Realme?
As per The Mobile Indian Report Card 2019, Realme introduced 33 smartphones in India including all the variants. Realme focused heavily in the sub Rs 10,000 segment as it has introduced 36.36 per cent of the smartphones in this price range.
The company has introduced 27.2 per cent of phones in the Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 segment, 21.21 per cent devices in Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000 segment, 9.09 per cent in Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000 segment and 6.06 per cent of smartphones in Rs 30,000 and above.
Coming to the hardware, the brand has introduced 75.76 per cent of smartphones with Qualcomm processors, while only 24.2 per cent of phones were equipped with MediaTek chipsets.
Taking a leaf out from Xiaomi’s book
Although there are many highs for Realme during this year, there were some controversies as well. Realme was still taking a leaf from Xiaomi in one way or another. One classic example was during the Realme C2 time.
Xiaomi announced that it will offer 2-year warranty on Redmi 7A smartphone and Realme was quick to copy this and announced the same 2-year warranty on its Realme C2 smartphone.
Furthermore, on the launch of Redmi 7A, Realme CEO took a jab on the latest budget-centric smartphone. Madhav compared the full specs comparison of both the smartphones and he further added that Xiaomi is using ‘two years old display’.
We have seen both the brands getting in ugly Twitter fights with one brand trying to pull down the other with its accusations and more.
Entering heated battle with Xiaomi
Xiaomi mocked Realme by calling it a ‘CopyCat’ brand. C Manmohan, the Head of Online Partner Sales at Xiaomi India has shared a video on its Twitter handle trolling Realme. In this tweet, Manmohan calls Realme a ‘CopyCat’ brand.
The tweet reads, “One of our fans sent this hilarious video about the #CopyCat brand. Fans sab jaante hain. I would say this to our friends – “Copying can only take you this far!”#नकल छोड़ो! थोड़ी अपनी #अकल लगाओ!”. In return, Realme CEO Madhav Sheth said, “A real innovative brand and market leader won’t behave like that. Basic dignity and ethics should be maintained no matter how insecure you are of your competitor’s growth. We will focus on making #realme the best in 2020. Rest is their choice, we don’t bother.”
Selling smartphone with cheaper price tag in China
Interestingly, the company was also accused of selling smartphones in China at a cheaper price as compared to India. The company introduced the Realme Q smartphone in China in 2019, which was the rebranded version of Realme 5 Pro.
The smartphone was launched at a starting price of 990 Yuan (approx. Rs 10,044), while in India, the base model was priced at Rs 13,999. However, Madhav Sheth revealed that the company has recently entered the Chinese market and in order to compete with the rest of the competition, it had no options but to aggressively price the Realme Q.
Introducing ads in its user interface
Moving on, another low or controversy for the company was the fact that it introduced advertisements on its operating system. Realme used to criticize Xiaomi for providing ads on its user interface, however, it used similar tactics by introducing ads on its Realme UI. The company says that the content recommendation will promote apps and commercial links, which is exactly what Xiaomi does with its MIUI operating system. With this, Realme users will see ads in two places – Page Manager app and Security Check page. The latter will appear whenever a user installs new apps.