The POCO X3 has just been launched for the Indian market. On the sidelines of the launch, we caught up with Manmohan C, the brand’s outgoing General Manager, and Anuj Sharma, the new Country Director for POCO India, to quiz them on the new device and the journey so far and the plans ahead.
91mobiles: What are the highlights of the new POCO X3?
Manmohan: To start off, POCO X3 is the world’s first smartphone featuring Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC, the newest and most advanced 4G chipset in the market. Besides that, there are a slew of features from POCO’s side that make the phone suitable for a wide range of users – including a 6,000mAh battery, an AI quad-camera setup (lead by a 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor), and cooling mechanisms (LiquidCool Technology).
POCO X2, albeit a February launch, is still lauded for the 120Hz display amongst other things. That gave us valuable feedback that users in India are open to trying out new tech, and if it suits their needs, they will not shy away from recommending the products to their circles. We’ve built on that and then added a lot more to ensure that POCO X3 is the perfect successor to the X2.
91mobiles: How did the POCO X3 become the first smartphone in the world to be powered by the Snapdragon 732G chipset? Tell us more about your partnership with Qualcomm.
Manmohan: Qualcomm has been a vital partner for POCO since the start of our journey – from POCO F1 with Snapdragon 845, followed by POCO X2 and POCO M2 Pro with Snapdragon 730G and 720G, respectively. With these smartphones, we got a chance to learn more about what users really want and expect. Additionally, we observed a lot of demand for X2 even months after launch; therefore to keep the legacy going, we defined the POCO X3, a smartphone that could one-up the experience offered by its predecessor. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 732G, we found a perfect fit for the brains that would power POCO X3.
91mobiles: The global version of the POCO X3 has NFC. Why did you drop this feature for the Indian model?
Manmohan: NFC as you’re aware is largely used to execute payments in western markets. However, the Indian market I’d say is a bit more advanced with payments, etc. and has done away with contact-based payments to a large extent. Most digital payments in India use the UPI mechanism, which is QR code based – thereby eliminating the need for additional hardware.
Keeping that in mind, we thought it did not make sense to make our users pay for a feature they would not use. Instead, we bumped up the battery significantly to 6,000mAh, which is something that any POCO X3 user will be able to take advantage of.
91mobiles: POCO India seems to be at a crucial stage in its journey, and the news about you leaving the company at this point seems quite sudden. Any comments on this Manmohan? Wishing you all the very best.
Manmohan: Since the time we started in August 2018, my journey at POCO has been an absolute dream run. Since the launch of POCO F1 in the market, I and the entire team at POCO have been blown away by the overwhelming response that we have received from POCO fans and consumers. Since then, POCO has only created some benchmarks with each product launch and has established itself as a strong player in the mid-budget segment.
The addition of Anuj to the POCO arsenal only strengthens the team here. Of course, I’ll be around till the end of this year and we will continue to make efforts to democratise decision making and continue to evolve; buyers and the community, in general, will get to see more examples as we move ahead.
91mobiles: Anuj, congrats on taking over the reins for POCO India. Do tell us what we can expect from the brand in the next few months.
Anuj: Thank you! I am excited to join the young and energetic team at POCO and work towards setting newer benchmarks, starting with the upcoming launch of POCO X3 in the market. As for what you can expect – we will try and stick to our core values which seem to have struck a chord with the audience already. It is easier said than done; there are always ideas and opportunities that sound great in the short term, but might not align with the overall brand strategy envisioned at the start.
The focus is going to remain on getting as much on-ground feedback as possible and then implementing that in the products to come. I believe this is something that we’ve been able to achieve to a great so far.
91mobiles: Any special plans for the upcoming festive season? When can we expect the much-awaited foray into accessories like TWS etc.?
Anuj: I think we can agree that 2020 has been a rather extraordinary year. While we are looking forward to the festive season, there are a lot of other macro-economic factors that are to be considered. We are working on ensuring that supply can meet demand this season.
The idea of foraying into the TWS portfolio was to engage with our community on a deeper level, while we continue to understand the industry outside of smartphones. On the TWS category, we’re currently working on tuning the device to better suit the Indian ear; as you’re aware, audio consumption in India has unique characteristics and we want to ensure the product meets expectations. We’ll be out with the product once we’re satisfied with the audio output, and you’ll be the first ones to know!
91mobiles: POCO India has seen quite a few ups and downs in its short journey, but clearly, its products hold a lot of promise for the Indian consumers. Where does the brand go from here? What’s the positioning it wants to take in terms of its offerings?
Every company has its own share of challenges and achievements. The constant engagement with our community has helped us work towards building an ecosystem locally and has further given us a way to improve on our innovations and deliverance.
Our focus has been extremely specific to the Indian market, dedicating ourselves to the needs of the Indian fans and working towards building a wider product portfolio. From here on, you can expect more and more people, across price points to be able to experience the POCO philosophy. Of course, we’re still a very small team, which means that we can only work on ideas that we think are absolutely foolproof.
We want to make sure that any product we bring in the market fits into the philosophy of everything you need and nothing you don’t and if it does we would want to work on that kind of proposition.