Micromax recently announced its plans to launch a new brand called Yu. Micromax made the announcement last month when it said that the Yu brand of smartphones will run Cyanogen OS, the variant of the Android-based operating system popular with the techie community that loves being in control of their devices. CM offers almost unparalleled options for customization and fine tuning on the Android OS that beats the ROM that any OEM manufacturers give on their phones.
Things became very messy with a legal tussle over Cyanogen rights in India between Micromax and OnePlus. Micromax has an exclusive agreement with Cyanogen for distribution of Cyanogen OS-powered phones in India and other South Asian countries. This meant that OnePlus, which recently announced in entry in India with the launch of OnePlus One (Review | Pictures) (another Cyanogen OS powered smartphone) had to halt sales.
With a tagline that says “Yu Play God”, Micromax wants to put you in control of every aspect of the smartphone. Users can change the look of the Yu Yureka by installing one of the themes, or create their own by changing elements like icons, fonts, and even boot screen animations to suit their moods. This will make the users very happy. The loyal user base of the Android OS hails customization as the key USP of the OS.
One of the brilliant features of the Cyanogen OS installed on Yu Yureka is the privacy controls on the Cyanogen OS let you edit permissions of every app. While Android does a good job of highlighting what permissions (e.g. SD card, Contacts, Your photos etc.) an app will need when you are installing or updating it, what you can do with that information is pretty limited. You know there’s no reason for a photo editing app to have access to your call logs, but you can either agree to install the app or reject it but there’s no way to install the app and restrict its permissions to a legitimate set without rooting your phone and/ or using third-party apps. Cyanogen OS will change that and allow you to control at a very granular level what permissions you want to give and not give any app. That is completely brilliant in terms of security and privacy on the phone.
There is support for 24-bit high-resolution loss-less audio, support for slow-motion video @ 60fps (with promise of 120fps video via a software update) and built-in support for Baton by Nextbit, which adds Apple Continuity like features to the OS. Micromax is aiming at the developer/ hacker community with the Yu Yureka by offering features like unlockable bootloader, availability of kernel source and full Android build tree. Also, Micromax says it will not void the warranty, in case anyone roots the Yu Yureka. All this will surely be very happy news to those techies who love being in control of their smartphone experience.
It is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939 64-bit processor with Adreno 405 GPU as well as 2GB RAM. Micromax’s Yu Yureka comes has 16GB internal storage, expandable to another 32GB via a microSD card. The only downside is the display that’s low resolution for its size. The smartphone comes with 13-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front camera. All this at an unbelievable price tag of Rs. 8,999 and backed by an onsite warranty, something unheard of in the smartphone market.
While it is very easy to get carried away with the nearly perfect specs and the OS features with respect to the price, it is worth remembering that Micromax has many a time, let users down with build and technical support. While we appreciate the specs and the features, we would like to wait for sometime to see how this one goes. Wait and watch!
I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.