A new POCO phone is coming to India in July, but it’s not the POCO F2 Pro
POCO, as a brand in India, has been making waves in the market, despite a very small and focused portfolio of products. The POCO F1 needs no introduction at this point, and the POCO X2 also trudged upon a similar trajectory with a robust value-for-money quotient. Internationally, we have the POCO F2 Pro as well, which is a rebranded Redmi K30 Pro 5G, and many had expected that the Snapdragon 865 device would also make its way to India soon. We know that POCO is working on its next smartphone for the Indian market, and our previous assessment of the situation indicated that this was not the F2 Pro. Now, in an interview, POCO India’s General Manager, Mr. C. Manmohan, has confirmed that the next device coming to India is not the POCO F2 Pro, but something else that has been made specifically for the Indian market.
In an interview with Mr. Amit Bhawani from PhoneRadar, Mr. C. Manmohan talked about a lot of POCO’s current and upcoming plans. When asked whether the POCO F2 Pro is coming to India as the same device or as something else (at 2:05), they reveal that the new phone that the POCO India team is planning to launch is not the F2 Pro. It is a different phone that is made specifically for India. They did not outrightly dismiss plans for bringing the existing F2 Pro to India, and instead, left the pathway open for the future. In a different part of the interview (at 18:00), Mr. Manmohan does mention that the upcoming phone is an India-first launch, meaning that it hasn’t launched anywhere else yet. While not mentioned in the interview, we expect the next phone to be the POCO M2 Pro with a mid-range processor, which aligns with the facts mentioned in the conversation. Mr. Manmohan does confirm (at 20:55) that the phone launch will take place in July 2020.
The interview goes on to talk about POCO’s plans in the truly wireless earphones (TWS) product segment. We already know that POCO is working on its own TWS solution, which will be called the POCO Pop Buds. The interview explores the company’s process of selecting TWS as the next category of interest in a community-driven decision-making environment. Further, when asked whether the upcoming TWS would be based on an existing Xiaomi product solution, Mr. Manmohan reiterated that POCO does share a centralized product R&D with Xiaomi. It is the other legs of the business, such as the go-to-market strategy and sales that are independent and differentiated from Xiaomi. POCO’s strength apparently lies in the community and its feedback, which is where the team can work and build upon. The interview stopped short of disclosing further details about the TWS product.
Next, the interview also touches upon the topic of advertisements. Xiaomi’s product model hinges upon serving affordable hardware and complementing them with ads within the products. We’ve seen Amazon do the same with the Amazon Moto G4 Play, but Xiaomi’s business implementation has reached a better scale and success in a different region. With POCO’s roots going back to Xiaomi, the question does come up frequently on how far along POCO would be considering adopting the same business model. In the interview (at 17:05), Mr. Manmohan clarifies that “POCO does not have ads in the UI, but it has some recommendations,” and these will continue (within the context of the next phone to be launched). The jury is still out on what classifies as an ad and what classifies as a recommendation and how far different are the two from each other. Mr. Manmohan does assert that POCO is open to hearing suggestions on the same.