Redmi Y1, Redmi Y1 Lite: Unnecessary additions in Xiaomi lineup

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Updated: November 02, 2017 7:16 PM

Xiaomi Redmi Y1 and Redmi Y1 smartphones have launched in India. The new Redmi Y1 mobiles are priced in the budget segment, where Xiaomi already has the Redmi 4A, Redmi 4, and the Redmi Note 4 in the country.

Xiaomi Redmi Y1, Redmi Y1 lite, redmi y1, mi y1, y1 lite, xiaomi, miui 9, miuiApart from Redmi Y1 and Redmi Y1 Lite, Xiaomi also announced the MIUI 9. (FE Photo)

Xiaomi Redmi Y1 and Redmi Y1 smartphones have launched in India. The new Redmi Y1 mobiles are priced in the budget segment, where Xiaomi already has the Redmi 4A, Redmi 4, and the Redmi Note 4 in the country. Out of the three other devices, the first two were launched in 2017 itself. Was it important for Xiaomi to launch yet another cheap mobile in the already saturated segment? I think, not. Even though the Redmi Y1 is the first mobile by the company which comes with MIUI 9, yet it feels like an unnecessary addition. The mobile maker has gained huge levels of popularity due to the specifications it packs at much lower costs than what rivals offer. In India, Xiaomi is already the second biggest brand after Samsung. However, the company still seems to aim the market, that is targetted by other Chinese firms like Oppo and Vivo.

While Xiaomi is already a big hit in the online market due to its Redmi and Mi phones, Vivo and Oppo are big competitors when it comes to the offline stores. What makes companies like Oppo and Vivo click is that they target the population which care less about specifications and more about visible factors like selfie camera and battery. However, Xiaomi must have done something right all this while, that it enjoys a big fandom. Xiaomi has managed to make every customer happy, in terms of performance, or battery, or display. While Xiaomi has generally not focussed on its cameras, their performance has been above average in their respective price segments. It is understandable that the company now wants to venture into innovative designs. However, it is understandable when Xiaomi does it with the Mi A1 in the under Rs 15,000 price range. But when it wants to bring a selfie-centric phone in the under Rs 10,000 budget segment, it has to hold back in terms of other features, that eventually impacts the overall experience of the phone.

Xiaomi is unnecessarily targetting selfie centric phones made by Vivo and Oppo. Xiaomi is already famous for getting premium features in a budget device and it is a big thing in India where consumers always want to avail maximum value for their money. It is also a big reason why the Redmi Note series has been a massive hit in the country. The Redmi Notes essentially give you every basic thing a premium smartphone provides, a big screen, a big battery life, a decent camera, a fingerprint scanner, a good Snapdragon processor and more.

While Vivo and Oppo have a good base in India now, Xiaomi’s biggest strength is its fans. Xiaomi has managed to garner a cult status where there is a big Mi Community where users discuss phones on a daily basis. It is almost as big as Apple, in terms of the way fans interact talking about the tech in the Redmi phones. This essentially means that the company should focus on this strength instead of trying its hand at everything.

It is understandable that there is a dire need for companies in the budget smartphone segment to bring selfie focussed cameras, as they really do work. But it would have made more sense for Xiaomi to bring out such a smartphone in 2018, as it has already produced so many this year.

Xiaomi has a habit of bringing phones launched in China with a new name in India. If we look at the specifications, the Redmi Y1 is essentially the Redmi 5A. But the company need not have brought the device as it falls in a segment, where the company is already doing well. There has been no major upgrades as well. Xiaomi must realise that it is one thing to be aggressive, but another to be hurried.

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