Micromax and Xiaomi share some striking similarities. Both started out as companies manufacturing handsets and then went on dethroning Samsung as the largest phone maker in their respective markets. However, Xiaomi has been a step ahead as it also focused on developing its own customized OS MIUI based on Android which has grown to become quite popular among Xiaomi (and others as well) fans.
Now taking a leaf out of Xiaomi’s book, Micromax too is set to focus its attention on software and plans to develop a similar customized OS keeping Indian consumers in mind. The new system will be developed under the freshly appointed CTO Ashish Agarwal, a former Amazon executive and according to him, it will cater to the needs of Indian consumers like Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi have done internationally through their customised OS.
In addition to it, Micromax will also focus on building services which can be used by the customers across its different platforms seamlessly such as smartphones, TVs and wearable devices in order to ensure customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Micromax has already begun to invest in startups whose services can be integrated into its devices in future. It recently invested in health start up HealthifyMe, online travel portal Ixigo and US-based consumer cloud provider MiMedia whose services are most likely to be also integrated into their Cyanogen OS based Yu smartphone series.
According to Counterpoint Research, Micromax is the number two handset brand in India with a 16.7% share of smartphones and 14.4% share overall devices in the local market. In the tablet segment, it fell behind Samsung and Datawind with 9% market share for the quarter ended March 2015, according to Cybermedia Research. With a renewed focus on software, Micromax is looking forward to overturn its image of merely being a handset manufacturer to a technology focused brand especially among the people from upper middle and higher class.
The new OS will be built by the software team of company in Bengaluru along with support of 75 people in design teams acquired from Nokia R&D in Beijing and a second one coming up in Shenzen. They will work together to build the apps ecosystem and partnerships back home. The first smartphones with the new OS are expected to hit the market at affordable prices by the end of this financial year according to Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain.
“We’re excellent with partnerships and we don’t want to re-invent the wheel,” said Jain adding that instead of starting from the scratch and breaking away entirely from Android,the company was working with the globally dominant Android OS to bring a differentiated experience to consumers across all platforms, including wearables.