Realme’s first smartphone It arrived in 2018, and here we are, four years later, celebrating the brand’s 4th anniversary. The company that started as an Oppo spin-off has achieved some impressive feats in a short span of time – it is the 6th largest smartphone company in the world with over 140 million users worldwide.
We sat down with Sheth, VP at Realme and Head of Realme International, and asked him some pressing questions about future plans, charging speeds, and European expansion. Read the full interview below.
Are you planning to release the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 flagship in international markets? The only one you have now is only available in China.
We plan to do that soon. I can’t share the exact time, but yes the international version is coming soon.
So should one be on the shelves this holiday season?
Again, I can’t tell you the exact time, but yes – that’s what we plan to do. The time is still in the planning and discussion phase.
Where do you see your main GT line next year? Are you keeping the focus or the design, or are you trying to push camera innovation or any other innovation instead?
I think the most important thing for the main line is that everything should be at a high level. This includes processing, screen, camera and aesthetics. All these things are required for a premium flagship. When people buy a flagship, they look for an overall good experience – look and feel, camera experience, screen experience, battery optimization, charging experience – and we need to make sure we deliver that.
Of course, a flag should fix all of this, but which area do you feel allows you to stand out?
The designs! Because I believe the designs are the basis for us at Realme. Even if we come out with Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 today, you will see many other phones with it. But beauty is one thing and I want to make sure it connects more with the audience. And I think that would be the reason for Realme’s difference.
The chip shortage has recently forced you to move the number series to one generation per year. Now that things are improving on the supply side, do you have any plans to go back to two generations a year?
We want to continue with one generation a year because we want to give users time before the next generation comes. We’ve seen that replacement cycles are universally at least 18 to 24 months, so it’s preferable to stick with one generation at least for the serial number.
Maybe we’ll try to come up with some small improvements in six months, but we won’t release more than one generation a year.
According to our research, it costs about 10% more battery capacity to operate a smartphone than 125-150W, let’s say moderate, 65-80W charging speed. So 4,500mAh is 80W vs 5,000mAh 150W. Do you think this trade-off is worth it for most people?
I think people generally prefer at least a 4,000-4,500mAh battery to have good charging speed. I think this is exactly what the average user wants. Higher is better, but not if it affects the design and look and feel or the weight of the phone.
When we work on the flexibility of handling the phone, we try to make sure that the phone is not too heavy – it should be light and we still try and give a good charging speed. But even without that, 4,000-4,500mAh capacity is the bare minimum we’re trying to reach.
So you’d say we’re at the end of this charging speed race?
The sprinter race is not over. People think it’s race, but for us it’s a very different matter. What technology can do to relieve stress. Technology that helps make your life better, easier and faster. So charging speed isn’t about beating any other brand, we want to make sure you don’t have to worry about charging your phone. For fear of your phone running out of charge when you’re out for a meeting. You can plug it in for just five minutes and you’re good to go for another half day.
That’s what we want to do with charging speed – let go of your worries and make sure your phone experience is better. Even with all your multitasking, you don’t have to compromise otherwise.
Where do you plan to take your broadcast next in Europe in particular? Is there going to be a big focus on offline channels?
Yes, there will be. We will move forward by deepening the distribution network. Because touch and feel is extremely important for the European market. I want consumers to experience the quality of our products.
Similarly, we have our other ecosystem products – audio, wearables, laptops, TVs. We have already launched some in Europe, and some will be coming soon. So we want to make sure people can experience those products.
Maybe it’s going to be carriers, retail partners or their own stores?
We are already working with service providers and would like to extend those partnerships. We have great store partners and local ones too. So I think own stores are the next step, at the same time extending our current partnership.
You mentioned new IoT products coming to Europe – which ones are you focusing on?
We want to go deeper and wider in the audio and wearable segments. Because we have so many touch points and selling options, I feel we have great opportunities to grow there. At the same time, consumers can get a more complete experience from us.