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Micromax ties up with Cyanogen to launch new sub-brand 'YU'; first device coming out next month

MicromaxHome grown handset and tablet manufacturer Micromax has entered into a strategic partnership with Cyanogen Inc., the makers of the Cyanogen mobile operating system, to launch a new sub brand. Called 'YU', the brand will focus on working with various companies to build a layer of services into the operating system itself.

The company has also set up YU Televentures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Micromax Informatics, to market the brand 'YU' through a 'direct-to-consumer' model. What this basically means is that the products will only be sold online. Companies like Motorola and Xiaomi follow the same model for selling their products in India, and have tasted success with the same.

In the country, both the companies have entered into exclusive partnerships with Indian e-commerce major Flipkart.com to offer their devices. It is not clear whether Micromax will enter into similar exclusive partnerships, or offer its devices across all leading e-commerce stores.

The new brand will be led by Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma, and it will cater to the new age audience. "Disruption has to be the name of the game and with this partnership, we are raising the bar again and rewriting the rules. As YU is envisioned to build an ecosystem of connected devices and offer a differentiated user experience, we will engage directly with consumers," said Sharma.

According to the company, it has been in dialogue with Cyanogen for the past one year under the Project Yureka, which has taken the shape of the 'YU' brand. It further claims that the project has been conceptualised to engage directly with consumers and bring solutions that solve consumer problems- not just software or hardware upgrades.

The first device under the new brand will be announced in India next month. However, details like its pricing or specifications are not available as of now.

According to a report by International Data Corporation (IDC), India's smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2014 stood at 18.42 million units, recording a year on year growth of over 84 per cent over Q2, 2013. In addition to toppling Nokia to become number two in the overall mobile phone segment, Micromax also created a gap between the second and the third spot in the quarter.

The company came second with 18 per cent of market share in the quarter, behind only Samsung who maintained its leadership position with 29 per cent market share. Earlier this year, Micromax had also started manufacturing handsets at its Rudraprayag manufacturing plant in Uttarakhand. The facility was already being used to manufacture LED and tablets.

Cyanogen Inc. is the company behind CyanogenMod, an open source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform. The OS is known for delivering a number of software advancements that optimise performance, customisation, security, and privacy features on mobile devices (at least that is what the company claims).

Interestingly, Chinese handset maker OnePlus is also making its debut in the Indian market next month. Called OnePlus One, the company's flagship smartphone offering also comes with the CyanogenMod.

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