Next week is when Lenovo will launch the K4 Note — its update to the most successful mid-range phone India has ever seen, the K3 Note. But the Chinese firm is likely to soon face an unexpected competitor — the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
While the Redmi Note 3 was not expected to come to India because of an ongoing legal fight between its maker and Ericsson over patent royalties, Xiaomi has overcome the problem by bringing out a Snapdragon 808-powered variant of the device.
News of the new Redmi Note 3 with Snapdragon processor was initially announced by a Chinese weibo account (weibo is the twitter of China). According to Chinese media reports, the new smartphone will be priced between Rs 13,300 and Rs 15,300 in China — implying a price of at least Rs 14,000 in India.
This is much higher than the price for the MediaTek-powered version of the same phone launched days ago.
The MediaTek Helio X10-powered Note 3 is priced at Rs 9,300 for the 16 GB version and Rs 11,400 for the 32 GB version. The 16 GB version comes with 2 GB of RAM and the 32 GB version with 3 GB, and are otherwise identical.
Indian fans have been showing their anger at Xiaomi for not launching the Redmi Note 3 in India.
The phone is, without doubt, one of the most value for money devices anywhere in the world.
For less than Rs 11,300 in China, it offers a fingerprint reader, a 5.5-inch full HD display, a top-end processor and 3 GB of RAM. Such devices typically cost around Rs 20,000 in India. As such, the Note 3 — even if priced at Rs 15,000 — will see brisk sales in India.
Part of the reason why Xiaomi is forced to use Snapdragon processors in India — pushing up the price — has to do with the Chinese company’s lack of core patents compared to others.
For example, Lenovo is also planning to come out with a similar device — the Lenovo K4 Note — at a price of around Rs 12,000. The K4 Note will have a fingerprint scanner, a 5.5-inch full-HD display, NFC etc., but will cost less than the Redmi Note 3, partly because of its MediaTek processor.
While Lenovo can use processors made by MediaTek, Xiaomi cannot, due to the threat of legal action by Ericsson.
Lenovo and others like Huawei don’t have to worry about legal threats as much as new entrants like Xiaomi because they have been in the mobile business for a long time and have their own patents to counterattack anyone who sues them.
Still, even with the higher price, the launch of the Note 3 will be a welcome break for Xiaomi from the incessant complaints from its fans on social media. At present, any attempt by the company to promote its recently launched Note Prime (which comes with older internals) is being met by high-pitched complaints by the company’s fans in India.
In terms of performance, the Snapdragon 808 and the Helios X10 are largely comparable and there should be no performance lags in the Indian version of the Redmi Note 3. However, what matters is how fast the company can launch the product in India, particularly in light of two key launches — the Lenovo K4 Note and Le TV’s new models — happening next week.
Also read — Lenovo K4 Note pictures, specs leaked.