Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

MAY YOU live in in­ter­est­ing times! You may be fa­mil­iar with the phrase, but not its source. It’s a loose trans­la­tion of a pur­ported Chi­nese curse, one that iron­i­cally de­notes that ‘in­ter­est­ing times are full of dis­or­der and chaos’. Well, the phrase is cur­rently very apt for the world of mo­biles.

Demonetisation is a big shock to the sys­tem. In our coun­try, most phones un­der 20,000 are bought in cash (just eas­ier to buy a new phone ev­ery three months with un­ac­counted in­come). This isn’t go­ing to be an easy re­cov­ery at all. There will be a lot of col­lat­eral dam­age that fol­lows with some of the smaller In­dian and Chi­nese brands shut­ting shop in the next few months. Cheap phone wars and ridicu­lous on­line your ears. Usu­ally, HTC would get the phone right and screw up the price. Not this time. It’s priced at about 25,000 for a flag­ship. HTC seems to have un­der­stood the mar­ket and may be able to whip-off the demonetisation shroud.


Black­Berry came out with more new phones in In­dia and man­aged to make the same mis­takes all over again. None of them have a key­board, the pric­ing is still way off and the phones aren’t com­pet­i­tive with other An­droid phones. The only thing they have go­ing for them is that they are the most se­cure phones you can buy. Un­for­tu­nately, in typ­i­cal BB fash­ion, the launch was low-key and this one big dif­fer­en­tia­tor was spo­ken about al­most in whis­per mode. With What­sApp go­ing into ‘won’t work on Black­Berry phones from De­cem­ber 31, 2016’, this was the time for BB to launch a Black­Berry An­droid with a clas­sic key­board and sell it in mil­lions. They have man­aged to screw up roy­ally once again! Demonetisation will hit BB harder than ever be­fore.


A phone with a front cam­era that has a bet­ter sen­sor than the one at the back? A Vivo phone that is priced at around 18,000? An ex­pen­sive phone that comes with a plas­tic body and not even a full HD screen? Yes, the Vivo V5 has all these anom­alies and more. Its main USP is a 20-megapixel front cam­era with a LED flash that has been re­badged as a ‘Moon­light Dew Flash’. In a world where self­ies, and now, video calls rule the roost, this is a great move. The back cam­era is 13-MP and not a very good one. The strange thing is the price. Vivo is an econ­omy and bud­get brand, Oppo plays the field in the medium range while OnePlus hits out at the higher lev­els. Many don’t know that all three brands are ba­si­cally owned by BBK Elec­tron­ics. And for them to get a Vivo take on Oppo and OnePlus with a very medi­ocre phone is strange. Watch this Vivo phone tank un­der the demonetisation on­slaught.

Many more launches are planned in the com­ing weeks. It’s time to re­view phones based on fea­tures, form fac­tor, hard­ware and the demonetisation ef­fect. The DM fac­tor will de­ter­mine the suc­cess or fail­ure of a phone for the next six months.

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