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Lenovo goes head-to-head with Xiaomi, introduces India’s cheapest 4G smartphone

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Summary:Lenovo will also have to figure out how to differentiate the A6000 from the hugely successful Motorola brand of phones that it also owns.

Lenovo has made its intentions very clear: It wants to dominate the Indian smartphone market, and it wants to do so fast. This Chinese computer maker was always known more for its laptops more than anything else, rising to become the largest computer maker in the world a few years ago. Recently, though, it is garnering attention for the steady inroads that it has been making in attempting to repeat the same feat in the smartphone market.

By for New Tech for Old India

A few days ago, it unveiled the A6000 in India, a device that hopes to impress Indians by not only its ultra low cost, at Rs 6,999 ($113) for its impressive specifications (Digital Dolby speakers, 720p display, 5-inch screen, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 quad-core 64-bit processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB storage, 8MP main camera, and 2MP selfie camera), but also because it sports next-gen 4G technology.

(Image: Lenovo)

By introducing the A6000, Lenovo has also fired a warning salvo across the bows of competitors Micromax and Xiaomi, which recently introduced their own brand of competition-crushing phones, namely the Yureka (about $145) and the Redmi Note 4G (about $160).

Lenovo has done well for itself in India so far with its flagship metal-bodied K900 and other mid-range phones such as the A, S, and Vibe series of phones. However, its biggest impact in India was from its line of Motorola phones — it purchased the company from Google for $2.9 billion — and has been a standout success story in the country. Indeed, the Moto G and the Moto E had ingratiated themselves into the hearts and wallets of Indians way before Xiaomi and Asus created a splash, grabbing an impressive 5 percent of the market in just six to nine months. For its part, Lenovo managed to carve out a 2.5 to 3 percent share in India as of last June, according to International Data Corp.

The Lenovo-Motorola combination already pushes it comfortably into the top five phone makers in India, with Samsung and Micromax leading the heap and Karbonn and Lava following the two.

“Lenovo has a very good smartphone business in India through the offline channel. Motorola is present only online. It’s a good combination,” said Liu Jun, Lenovo executive vice president and president of Lenovo’s Mobile Business Group, in an Economic Times article.

Now, Lenovo will hope to scale loftier heights with the A6000, hoping to cement its place along with Xiaomi as one of the brands to beat in what is the most competitive phone market in the world. Yet, how it will choose to differentiate itself from or even compete with the Motorola brand without cannibalising itself is something that has no doubt sent its marketing heads scrambling in search of artful solutions.

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