Flipkart’s 'Billion Capture Plus' needs to sufficiently differentiate itself to stay competitive in a crowded smartphone market

Flipkart is about to launch its Billion Capture Plus smartphone from 15 November. This will be the second time Flipkart has forayed into hardware products, and has previously released a lineup of tablets based on Intel processors. The Flipkart Digiflip Pro XT712 was a solid debut in the budget segment, but failed to get much traction.

Flipkart is coming into the market with an ecommerce heritage as against a phone making heritage. For smartphone buyers, this is a new area that the ecommerce giant is venturing into, and there is little value addition that Flipkart can add in terms of core technologies. In a crowded smartphone market, Flipkart needs to differentiate itself considerably to stand out and offer a device that offers a superior value proposition to the buyers.

Image: Flipkart

Image: Flipkart

The Billion Capture Plus does have a few things going for it. It is a device in the sub 15k category that offers unlimited cloud storage. The banner on the Flipkart page for the phone says unlimited cloud storage for unlimited memories, so the storage could only be restricted to photos captured on the device. The device ships with stock Android, which is attractive because of optimised performance and timely updates. The Billion Capture Plus ships with Nougat and comes with the promise of an Oreo update.

Flipkart is offering 130 service centers in 125 cities and towns, this is not game-changing, but does provide some re-assurance to the end users. Flipkart is claiming the body has a premium build, with “easy to hold edges”. We are not sure exactly what Flipkart is going for with this one, but let’s just say that feature does not really give the device a competitive edge.

The specifications of the device are more or less on par with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (RN4). India really loves the device, with over 5 million units being sold within six months of the launch. There are two variants of the device. The device with 3GB of RAM, with 32 GB of on-device memory is available for Rs 10,999 while the variant with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of on-device storage is available for Rs 12,999. The smartphone will be powered by a Snapdragon 625 processor, the same as the one used by the RN4.

There is a 3,500 mAh battery, which is about 600 mAh less than the one that juices the RN4. The screen is a 5.5 inch Full HD display protected by 2.5D Dragontrail glass from Asahi. The front camera is an 8 MP shooter, while there are dual 13 MP cameras on the back. On paper, the camera offerings are better than the RN4. There is a bokeh effect and a “super night mode”. However, the photos showcasing the camera on Flipkart do not actually look like they were taken using the device.

The device does look like it has the necessary specifications, but it entering a crowded arena. Xiaomi is known for its value for money offerings, Motorola and Lenovo have brand value going for it, apart from a long history of smartphone offerings. Moto, Lenovo and Xiaomi all have devices in the same price range that offer stock Android, and all three are far more established smartphone brands. Oppo and Vivo have carved out a niche market in the camera segment, as well as offering the best specifications around at reasonable prices. This includes the highest MP selfie cameras, as well as stunningly slim devices.

One of the biggest competitors of Flipkart, as well as a technology giant beyond the ecommerce space, Amazon also had come up with the Amazon Fire Phone. If you do not remember the device, we do not blame you. It had a dynamic perspective feature, based on four sensors on the front that tracked facial movements to give a 3D effect in some apps. There was also a FireFly button that let you shop for anything after taking a snap, and a free year of Amazon Prime Subscription. The device was priced at around Rs 11,500, but failed to gain traction in the market and did not offer enough to woo customers.

According to Flipkart, the specifications and features of the Billion Capture Plus are based on deep mining of the data from customer reviews on Flipkart. While this is a consumer-centric approach, smartphones are one of the most important category of products on ecommerce platforms, and the major driver for growth.

Although previous hardware lineups from both Flipkart and other ecommerce giants have not done well, and it looks like Flipkart needs this phone more than the consumer, it remains to be seen if the device has the right mix of price, specifications and features to crack the crowded Indian smartphone market.

Updated Date: Nov 10, 2017 14:34 PM