BBK-owned IQOO has officially announced its entry to India. Abbreviated from ‘I quest on and on’ and pronounced as ‘aiku’, the sub-brand will be operating in the premium segment, independently of Vivo in India.
The brand was first announced in China last year with a focus on 5G connectivity and gaming. Under the brand, Vivo launched IQoo Pro and IQoo Neo, powered by the Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 845 respectively. The former even had a 5G variant that was announced at MWC China. Now, the brand will operate independent of Vivo in both China and India.
First to bring a Snapdragon 865-powered 5G phone
In India, IQoo wants to be first brand to bring a Snapdragon 865-powered flagship to India. Considering how you can’t unpair the 5G modem from the chipset, it will also happen to be the first 5G-enabled smartphone in India. The launch event is scheduled to happen in the first half of February. The upcoming flagship will also feature a new battery tech and it’s not confirmed whether it’s just a large-capacity battery or faster charging. The same smartphone will also have a 4G-only variant running on Snapdragon 865.
We spoke to Gagan Arora, Director of Marketing at IQoo about his plans for the brand’s entry into the Indian smartphone market.
“The philosophy of IQoo is based on performance. It stands for ‘I quest on and on’ and the quest is all about performance. It (smartphones under IQoo) has to be the best and performance comes at a premium. We will be the first one to introduce Snapdragon 865 in the Indian market. Second thing, in terms of the latest capability, 5G will be there,” he said.
The price to performance ratio will be crucial to the brand’s success in India. The premium segment has seen good growth last year with new entrants like the Realme X2 Pro, Redmi K20 Pro shaking things up a bit. Mr. Arora said IQoo smartphones will maintain the competitive pricing of flagships in India.
“The prices has to be competitive for sure, but the focus on experience will also be there. So it (smartphones under IQoo) will be premium because of performance, not because of the price,” Mr. Arora added.
Pricing remains the key to success
While that sounds like the upcoming flagship will be priced just as affordable as other Snapdragon 855+ powered phones in India, you may want to hold on to your horses.
The 5G-enabled Snapdragon 865 is considered to be more expensive to source from Qualcomm as compared to the previous generation. This higher cost in tandem with the extra efforts needed to enable 5G connectivity could make the smartphone’s price a lot higher than we expect.
But then again, considering IQoo will share manufacturing space with Vivo and other BBK-owned brands, it should also enjoy the higher economies of scale that will come with being under the Chinese electronics conglomerate who can technically manage to order the flagship chipset in large volumes, and get some leeway on the price.