Realme, the Chinese smartphone maker that started its journey in India in May 2018 and gained popularity by bringing affordable smartphones aimed at young customers, is moving beyond the smartphone market in the country and will launch its lineup of connected devices. The first device from the same auction – Realme Band – was unveiled in the country on Thursday and the company will add more in the second quarter of this year, a company executive told Gadgets 360.
The Realme lineup will include audio devices, wearables, smartwatches and smart TVs. Realme also plans to bring its first series of offline-focused smartphones, specifically designed for customers who buy products in brick-and-mortar stores in the country.
“IoT will be our next business growth in India,” said Madhav Sheth, CEO India, Realme, in a phone conversation with Gadgets 360.
Realme kicked off its new IoT-centric developments in India, unveiling the Realme Band as its first fitness band – a competitor to the likes of the Honor Band 5i and Xiaomi’s Mi Band 4. The Shenzhen-based company has also launched the Realme Link app that will serve as a platform for its connected devices.
However, Realme does not plan to limit its presence to the wearables segment alone. The company, which was initially a sub-brand of Oppo, is aiming to launch multiple devices across multiple segments to capture a larger share of the IoT consumer market in the coming months.
“Our goal is to bring the pillars of IoT, which will be the main connectors with smartphones,” Sheth told Gadgets 360. “They will be like TVs, headphones, wearables — all connected to smartphones…
Realme has already created some hype in the market by announcing that it will bring its first smart TVs in the second quarter. Realme TV models are expected to have competitive design and specifications to counter Xiaomi’s Mi TV range that has made the market more difficult for many traditional players.
Alongside Realme TV, the company recently got a look at its circular shaped smartwatch that would come with a list of fitness tracking features.
But moving from being just a smartphone manufacturer to venturing into the IoT market does not mean that Realme will limit its presence in the fast-growing world of smartphones. The company will continue to bring new smartphone models.
Realme phones with offline focus
In November, Sheth disclosed to Gadgets 360 that Realme would launch its offline-focused smartphone series in India in the coming months. This smartphone series is expected to launch early next quarter, he highlighted during the new iteration.
Realme’s offline-focused smartphones will not be limited to offline stores in the country and will also be available from e-retailers, although its design and features are aimed at shoppers looking for new products in retail stores.
Realme grew by 263.5% in India last year – thanks to its competitive pricing strategy and strong backing from Chinese company BBK Electronics, which also owns Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and newly incorporated iQoo. So far, the company has made significant use of online channels and is selling its phones and accessories through its native website – along with e-commerce portals. Its offline existence, on the other hand, is currently limited to third-party sellers. However, he sees a strong potential to grow further, leveraging the offline market in the country.
‘5G Devices at All Price Tiers’
Last month, Realme launched the X50 Pro 5G in India as its first 5G phone. It is also one of two 5G phones so far available for purchase in the Indian market.
The Realme X50 Pro 5G has eye-catching specs including the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, dual selfie cameras and a 64-megapixel main rear camera. But the company doesn’t want to limit its 5G offering to the high-end segment and has plans to bring 5G devices to the masses.
“We have a vision to bring 5G devices at all price points over a period of time,” Sheth told Gadgets 360.
However, what holds Realme back is something that hasn’t convinced the likes of Huawei and Samsung to bring their 5G phones to India – the delay in launching 5G.
“We are still waiting for the telcos to start rolling it out [5G] out,” said Sheth. “Once it arrives, we will bring more affordable 5G devices across all price segments.”
According to a recent report by Counterpoint Research, Realme was one of the top five smartphone players in India in Q4 2019 with an eight percent market share. That’s just a few points off Oppo’s 12% share that spun off Realme as a separate brand in July 2018.