After a lot of speculations, it has finally been revealed officially that Vivo will indeed expand it’s sub-brand iQOO to India next month (February 2020). Unlike China though, where iQOO operates as a sub-brand of Vivo, it’ll operate as a separate entity in India. With the launch of iQOO, the BBK Group shall have five brands in India — OnePlus, Vivo, Oppo, Realme, and iQOO.
iQOO, which stands for ‘I Quest On and On’, has set up its office in Bengaluru already, and has a team of 80-people as of January 2020. The brand is setting up its plan to sell phones offline sometime in the future but will sell the phones online initially. iQOO wishes to bring industry-first innovations to India with its products.
In an interview with The Mobile Indian, Gagan Arora, the marketing director of iQOO India revealed that we shall see two phones in the country, both launching by mid-February.
Talking about the phones, both the iQOO phones were said to sport similar design and specs, but one of them will have support for 5G networks while the other won’t. This would make iQOO’s 5G phone India’s first 5G phone. The phones are said to deliver the best in class performance.
The phones are said to pack the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, a 5G modem, and some “new” battery technology. The phones will reportedly target the upper mid-range – premium flagship market, and we expect the phones to start at around ₹35,000.
Vivo had launched the first iQOO phone in China in March 2019, called the Vivo iQOO. The phone was targetted towards mobile gamers, and came with the beefiest specs, like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and 44W Vivo Super Flash Charge. That phone started at CNY 2,998 (~ ₹30,800). Vivo also showcased an early 5G development model of the iQOO at MWC Shanghai in June last year.
From what we’ve heard, iQOO’s upcoming flagship will be called the iQOO 3, and it is said to pack the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset alongside 55W fast charging. The phone is also rumored to pack a 6.4-inch full-HD+ OLED panel with a punch-hole selfie camera. For optics, the iQOO 3 is said to pack 4 cameras at the rear with a 48MP primary wide sensor. This phone shall come as a 5G-ready variant, and is expected to launch in India and China initially, with plans to launch in other countries soon. For software, the phone is said to come out of the box with Android 10 along with a custom skin, like Vivo’s Funtouch OS.
iQOO said they are in talks with Indian telcos to pilot the 5G performance of its first smartphone. Though they didn’t name the telcos, we’ll take a wild guess at Jio and Airtel, as both of these companies are testing and developing their 5G infrastructure and technology in the country.
Apart from that, the pricing of the new phones is expected to start at around ₹35,000 at launch. The 5G variant is probably going to cost a whole lot more, as it is the first of its kind in India, and 5G isn’t widespread yet.
iQOO entering as a separate entity in India means more competition for Xiaomi. BBK’s OnePlus is already ruling the value-flagship market, and though Xiaomi kind of ate into OnePlus’s market and potential customer share with the Pocophone F1, it would be pretty safe to say that Xiaomi and Poco now shall have to face fiercer competition in that price range. Poco also recently started operating independently of Xiaomi and is coming with a flee of new Poco devices very soon. What this means is that there will be more competition among brands and more options for smartphone buyers to choose from.