Replaying the OnePlus playbook 

After the OnePlus phones took the country by storm, it’s now iQOO’s turn — curiously though the brand reminds a lot of the strategies and sales pitch we once associated with OnePlus

 With a 14% year-on-year growth rate, the Indian smartphone market is one the of most lucrative and sought after by manufacturers. And the best time to monetise this immense growth is none other than the festive season, especially around Diwali, which is when many people upgrade their handsets. Not to mention the numerous sales and offers rolled out by e-commerce and physical stores alike, that boost sales like anything. 

Companies make the most of this time and look to enhance not just their sales but also their brand image in this fiercely competitive market. And when looking at the 20,000 – 40,000 price point, the competition is even more fierce. 

Until a couple of years ago, the go to brand in this price point had been the OnePlus lineup, packed with the latest hardware, clean UI and reliable performance. And even though the brand’s claims of being the flagship would often fall flat when compared with the ones by other brands like Samsung, Huawei and Apple, they were the best at the price point. 

However, now there seems to be a new player — batting the same flair in the market, and capturing the eyeballs of many users — the iQOO brand. 

What is iQOO?

Founded recently, in 2019, the iQOO brand existed as a subsidiary of Vivo — which in turn was owned by BBK — the parent company of Oppo, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus. However in 2020 iQOO established itself as an independent brand with clear focus on gaming and performance, something that Vivo focussed less on.

This year, amidst the cacophony of the long list of handsets on sale, the relatively lesser known iQOO is making heads turn and basking in the love of positive reviews. 

The top performer in iQOO’s lineup being the iQOO7 — the device comes equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chipset with another graphics performance chips, a 120 HZ adaptive refresh Amoled screen with a 4400 mAH battery and a 48 MP main camera, 66 Watt charging speed and not to forget, 300 Hz touch sampling rate with a 1000 Hz instant touch sampling rate. All in all, such a good package for the going price of 29,900 (Amazon listed  price). The iQOO 7 Legend comes with the the Snapdragon 888 and a 4000 mAH, the rest of the specs though pretty similar to the 7, the phone boasts a distinct physical style and even has a BMW edition which is currently selling for 39,900 on Amazon.in. 

Other handsets from the brand also boast of a stacked spec sheet with the base variant of their iQOO 3 being sold out on the official website of the brand. 

Now, when one takes a close look at the iQOO handsets, their similarity to Vivo handsets is unmistakable. In such a scenario it would not be wrong to say that iQOO is replaying the playbook where Vivo launches a phone with too good to be true specs and sells them like hot cakes, then voila! …Within a couple of months we have an eerily similar device being displayed with OnePlus brands at a higher price point. 

Now we have a device from Vivo which makes good sales, then we have an iQOO device which reminds us of Vivo’s design and spec sheet, is rebranded as an iQOO — gaming oriented device — and it makes a killing in the market again. 

 

So what does it mean for consumers?

With companies like LG, who were famed for bringing niche features to the mainstream, exiting the market and brands like OnePlus trying to be what they are not — high end flagships even in their price points. It seems that the recycling of devices by BBK through different brand names is a loss for customers who pay different prices for mostly similar devices. And even though it does mean that these brands make a killing in the market, the sum effect is that a lot of good features do not make it to the end of the line.  

However, if iQOO does take the path paved by OnePlus — providing amazing hardware and a reasonable price — users in the long run might be able to look forward to some really capable devices within the 40,000 bracket. And for the sake of advancement of technology we hope iQOO will be able to break the pattern that BBK brands follow and establish itself as a clear alternative to its sister brands.  

(Cover: iQOO.com)

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