Frustrated Indian fans are pouring out their anger at Xiaomi India’s decision to hype what they feel is a upgraded model of an old phone instead of launching the new Redmi Note 3 in India.
Mi India is all set to introduce its new Note Prime in India early next week and has been promoting the device with statements like “PrimeIsComing”, PrimeTime’s here and so on.
However, the company’s attempts to whip up some excitement has ended up having the opposite effect among many of its tech-savvy fans, with hundreds using the occasion to protest what they see as a “second class” treatment meted out to them compared to Chinese fans.
It should be remembered that Xiaomi is banned from selling Note 2 and Note 3 in India by a Delhi High Court order on a complaint by Ericsson. However, what has got the Indian fans’ goat is that the company designed a new Note model for India with inferior specifications and tried to pass it on as something they must have.
For example, while the foreign version (Redmi Note 3) comes with a full HD display, the Indian version is stuck with a display with half that resolution. Similarly, the Note 3 has a variant with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB memory, while the Redmi Note Prime being introduced to India comes with only 2 GB RAM andn 16 GB memory.
In addition, the Note 3 also has an ultrafast fingerprint sensor while the Prime has none. The dual-SIM device also has a big 4 Ah battery and a powerful Helio X10 processor.
While the inferior specs created a lot of disappointment, attempts to hype the model were met with indignation. For example, the company called its HD ready screen a “pixel perfect display” and so on. The Prime has a 720p display, which is found on entry-level phones in India, while mid-range devices typically come with full-HD display which have twice as many pixels.
“I’m getting angry with this phone and in the comments from Mi too for putting the smile emoticon after 1280*720 as if they are going to release a world’d first 720p phone,” pointed out a user Naveen Kumar.
What seems to have happened was that the fans were already feeling cheated at what they see as the delay in the launch of Note 2 and 3. Mi India’s subsequent attempts to pass on what is essentially an inferior device (compared to what the fans were waiting for) as a great leap forward ruffled their feathers. Hurt transformed into anger.
“What the hell. It’s same old Redmi note 4g, U will fit it with sd615 (Snapdragon 615) which is known for heating more than its processing power and Miui which is so heavy than any other custom skins out there and price it around 7.5k,” said Krishnanand Hegde. “Seriously Xaomi this is what u want to do your second largest market!!!!!”
Some fans were also heard warning the company that it will face the same fate as Nokia.
“Mi India do you ever hear the name of Nokia. You’re going to be next Nokia in India. You’re underestimating Indian Fans. One day will come when no one even care for you. Be Scared. Very Scared,” said Saurav Biswas.
“Your graph will go done (down) very sharply in 2016 and responsible will be you only, the way you are releasing the outdated product and delaying the launch. Your good time in India have gone now. Now you don’t have a single good product in your portfolio,” noted Vijay Barapatre.
The incident highlights the limits of marketing on social media, where customers are empowered to convey their feelings with as much reach and power as the brand.