HTC Desire 326g, the Taiwanese company’s cheapest smartphone to be launched in India in over a year, will be available around the end of this month at a price of around Rs 7,999, taking on the Huawei Honor Bee and other entry level models such as Honor 4C.
At present, the cheapest recent offering from HTC is the Desire 526g Plus, which is priced at Rs 9,400. The phone was launched about four months ago.
The 326G will be the replacement of Desire 310, which was unveiled in India in March last year.
The 310 is still selling for Rs 7,400, but comes with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. In fact, the 310 was launched a price of Rs 11,700 last year, while the 326g will be launched around the Rs 8,000 mark, according to distributor sources.
“The market is not the same as it was a year ago,” said a dealer, referring to the aggressive launches from Xiaomi, Motorola, Lenovo and Huawei over the last one year or so.
The new players have forced HTC to tweak its pricing strategy.
The Taiwanese company has traditionally been only associated with premium phones in the Rs 30,000+ category. However, over the past one year, it has successfully entered the mid-range segment with its Desire 820 series.
It has also tried to address the entry-level segment with its Desire 5xx and 6xx series, but has found the going tough in the face of severe competition in this segment from Lenovo, Motorola, Xiaomi etc..
The Desire 326g will be yet another attempt by the company to successfully address this segment.
However, at Rs 8,000, the phone will be largely in the entry-level segment, but will not be able to compete with other phones like Lenovo A6000 Plus and A7000, RedMi 2, Moto E and the newly launched Yu Yuphoria (priced Rs 7,000).
In fact, specification-wise, the direct competitor of Desire 326g will be the Huawei Honor Bee, which was launched last week at a price of Rs 5,000 – or about Rs 3,000 less than the expected tag on the HTC model.
In fact, both the Bee and the 326g look like they’ve been made from the same mould. Both come with 4.5-inch displays with 0.4 mln pixels on their displays. Both have 8 MP cameras at the back and 2 MP cameras at the front. Both come with Spreadtrum SC7731 quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 processors, and both have 8 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. Both phones also have Android 4.4, and do not support 4G.
In fact, the similarities are so heavy, the two might as well be identical twins separated at Kumbh.
If the Huawei Honor Bee is any indication, then the HTC model too should not be a let down. In fact, the HTC model looks much better than the Chinese model, though very few people are going to shell out an extra Rs 3,000 just for better looks.
The reviews on the Honor Bee have been largely favorable, with most buyers ranking it either 5/5 or 4/5.
“The phone comes with a USB charger nothing else(no headphones),” pointed out buyer Ravi Shankar S on the listing page on Flipkart. “No complaints given the price, the specs are great. 1 GB Ram is critical to run many of my everyday apps. The screen quality is excellent, displays are very sharp. The navigation is smooth, with absolutely no lag.”