Not Xiaomi, not Samsung, not Realme, not OnePlus, but Vivo spin-off brand iQOO will launch India’s first 5G-ready premium flagship phone with Qualcomm’s newly announced Snapdragon 865 SoC. While announcing its foray into India’s burgeoning smartphone market on Thursday, iQOO which is said to be 'a completely independent entity' from Vivo confirmed, or rather claimed, that it will launch India’s first 5G phone with Snapdragon 865 in February. No further details were shared.
“The first device from iQOO will be India’s first smartphone running on the latest Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G capabilities. Furthermore, the device will also be backed by robust performance capabilities in the charging, gaming, and design department, providing phone phonetics uninterrupted content consumption,” the Vivo spin-off said in a statement.
In the increasingly competitive Indian smartphone market, it is becoming more and more difficult for brands to differentiate themselves. As such many brands are now branching out to form entities with clear cut focus. Vivo’s iQOO series of phones in China is specifically geared towards gaming and delivering a high-end flagship phone at relatively more mainstream prices – than rival flagships from Samsung and Apple. These phones are often called value flagships, a term made popular by brands like OnePlus, which is again, a Vivo sister brand.
Vivo has come under scrutiny of late for failing to match rival brands – including sister brand OnePlus – in terms of sheer value. Its phones often come with mid-tier specs at around OnePlus pricing and as such it becomes difficult to recommend a Vivo phone even though it may boast of a few unique features. And Vivo has also failed to keep up with launching a ‘true’ flagship phone in India. Its ‘promising’ Nex lineup has been a no-show in India since the first-generation version came out two years ago.
Vivo bringing in iQOO to India to fill that gap may not be such a bad idea. iQOO is known for its high-end flagship phones that are also seemingly more affordable than true-blue flagships from legacy brands. iQOO has launched as many as five phones in China already and all serve the same purpose. The original iQOO, for instance, was launched in March 2019 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, up to 12GB RAM and 44W fast charging support. iQOO has since launched phones like the iQOO New 855 and iQOO New 855 Racing edition.
“We see extreme potential in the premium segment smartphone market in India and have deep-dived to understand the gap that the consumers face in this segment. We understand very closely that there is an increasing demand for performance delivery devices and smooth smartphone experience, be it using multiple apps, downloading heavy files or just social media. Consumers today look for power-packed performance, and that is exactly what we offer. We are proud to share the same ethos and values exhibited by today’s younger generation who grew up in the internet era. We are confident that the values of the iQOO brand resonate strongly with this audience. iQOO is a brand that understands, is in-sync and progresses with them,” Gagan Arora, Director-Marketing, iQOO India said in a statement.
The announcement comes days after Xiaomi spun-off Poco as an independent brand “with its own team and go to marketing strategy.” It will be interesting to see how things pan out for iQOO in India in the days to come.