Samsung is still the smartphone market leader in India, but local manufacturer Micromax is catching up. It's the largest out of all local OEMs, and second to Samsung, in terms of market share.
Today, Micromax launched its first CyanogenMod-based smartphone that also happens to cost only $143 (Rs 8999). The smartphone is called "Yureka" and is the first of the company's "Yu-series" smartphones. Yu is actually a new company that is wholly owned by Micromax and is built by the same founder of Micromax, Rahul Sharma.
"This is a completely different venture, it is a different company. The only common things are that I am a founder for both companies and that it is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Micromax," said Sharma in an interview with Indian Express.
It seems the idea behind Yu is to take a different approach to smartphones than what Micromax has previously done with Android phones. That approach seems to focus on CyanogenMod and customization. Despite Micromax also being a partner of Google in the Android One program, it seems Sharma doesn't believe stock Android can provide enough customization features to its users, and that CyanogenMod is more suited for the task.
The Yureka smartphone comes with an octa-core Cortex A53-based Snapdragon 615 processor (four clocked at 1.5 GHz and four clocked at 1.0 GHz), 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB, a 5.5" 720p screen, 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, and a 2,500 mAh battery. The phone also supports 4G connectivity and has dual-SIM capability, a feature that has become quite common in Indian smartphones.
The use of CyanogenMod by Micromax has caused some controversy lately. Micromax obtained a deal with Cyanogen to use the CyanogenMod OS exclusively in India, even though Cyanogen had already signed a global contract with OnePlus, which was also looking to launch in India. Because of the Micromax exclusivity in India, those OnePlus One devices can no longer be supported by Cyanogen there. Some journalists participating at the Yureka launch raised this issue with Rahul Sharma, but he declined to talk about it.
The Yureka smartphone pre-orders will begin on December 19 on Amazon's Indian website. The phone will cost Rs 8999 (or ~$143).