“Just like the original Canvas 2, the Canvas 2 2017 can help the company get back in the game”
Back in 2012, Micromax launched the Canvas 2 A110 – a smartphone which possibly catapulted the homegrown brand to the big league. Five years later, the company is hoping that the Canvas 2 (2017 edition) will repeat the same feat, as it faces challenges from other established companies as well as Chinese players. In a way, the strategy is same as Nokia’s, which under its new parent HMD Global, is re-launching the iconic Nokia 3310 (first impressions). We were present at the launch event yesterday, and seems like Micromax has done its homework well as it’s going back to its roots to offer consumers what they want from their smartphone that’s priced attractively. But the question on everyone’s mind is whether this will help the brand get its mojo back?
The Indian brand woke up from slumber in March this year and its refreshed portfolio started with the launch of the Micromax Dual 5 (review). It’s the first smartphone in its lineup boasting a dual-camera setup along with promising chip-level security, and is its priciest offering yet… with a price tag of Rs 24,999. The manufacturer also took the covers off an affordable 4G VoLTE offering, in the form of the Bharat 2 (first impressions). Focussing exclusively on online consumers, it also introduced a new series under the Evok branding, and launched the Evok Power (first impressions) and Evok Note (first impressions) smartphones, priced affordably under Rs 10,000.
Unlike its earlier approach of throwing everything at the wall, and seeing what sticks, Micromax now has a clear and differentiated strategy for its products. As per Shubhajit Sen, chief marketing officer, “the brand will have a separate set of devices to focus on different segments. In the sub-Rs 6k entry-level segment, we have Bharat and Vdeo series. The consumers of the budget category of Rs 6,000 to 12,000 are moving online, and so is Micromax with its Evok range.”
He further added, “the Canvas range would not only cater to the budget segment but the mid-range tier between Rs 10k and 20k as well, which is still dominated by offline sales. For that, we have the Dual portfolio, which will soon see more smartphones with dual rear cameras. And that’s where Micromax is projecting its latest launch, the Canvas 2 2017.”
Based on our brief time with the Micromax Canvas 2 2017, we think that the device is an interesting package. The compact 5-incher bears a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels and comes powered by a quad-core processor, which is mated to 3 gigs of RAM. It has an expandable storage of 16GB and is the first phone from Micromax to boot Android 7.0 Nougat. For imagery, it flaunts a 13-meg sensor at the back and a 5MP selfie camera. But that’s not all, the smartphone bears the tagline “Unbreakable”, which comes from the fact that its display gets a protective coating of Gorilla Glass 5. The latest-gen offering from Corning claims to boast 4x better drop failure rate than other protective glasses. On top of that, the company is offering a warranty of one year for a one-time screen replacement. Making the deal even sweeter, Micromax has partnered with Airtel to offer unlimited calls and data to existing and new prepaid consumers. Users will be able to get 1GB of data every day, unlimited A2A voice calls and up to 400 minutes of calling to other operators (limited to 1,500 minutes in a week).
It’s clear that Micromax has its task cut out. It’s new strategy is interesting, but is that enough? In the online segment, it will need to rise above the popularity of brands like Xiaomi and the Lenovo-owned Moto. And in the offline category, it’ll be up against the advertising-heavy offline phone makers such as OPPO and Vivo. But one area which some competitors may not be as strong on, is the service aspect. While Micromax isn’t exactly known for that, its decade of experience in the Indian market gives it a leg-up. The Canvas 2 2017 is certainly a step in the right direction as its one-time screen replacement offer, along with the special offers for Airtel users, could sway buyers in its favour. And we hope that the Indian brand will continue with such initiatives to improve the consumer confidence.