It seems like a season of comebacks, as after Nokia 3310 and Micromax Canvas 2 were brought back to life, another name from the past, Spice, has now announced that the brand is being revamped after entering a joint venture with Chinese firm Transsion Holdings. The two companies are all set to launch a new range of smartphones and feature phones, but will a revamped Spice be able to survive and make its mark in the highly-competitive budget segment?
Apart from unveiling the new Spice logo and announcing the joint venture, the companies have not shared much information about the upcoming devices, which will be launched starting later this month. However, the two companies did say that the revamped Spice brand will be focussing especially on the youth segment with their new products.
A company statement said: "The new distinctive logo denotes a youthful, vibrant, energetic and carefree brand. The identity is designed around the core values of the target audience - the 'youth'."
Spice says that the company will be targeting the sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment with its upcoming phones. As is the case with other budget-oriented handsets, these phones will be kept exclusive to offline retailers and will not be sold online.
"The new phones will come with features that will make sharing [to social media] easier," Dilip Modi, executive chairman at Spice Mobility, said. This, he said, is part of its goal to target the youth segment. Apart from this, he also said that all the new smartphones will support 4G connectivity. While the company has also promised capable hardware to back these features, we will have to wait and see how these products turn out to be.
As per current plans, the joint venture between Transsion and Spice is set to launch five smartphones and five feature phones under the revamped brand by the end of this year. On the basis of the consumer feedback, the company will further decide its expansion plans in India.
Modi said that each of the new phones launched under the revamped brand will offer their own standout feature that will set them apart from other devices in this segment.
"Instead of spending more capital on advertising and marketing, the company is currently focussing on what the consumers want from the device," said Modi. He emphasised that word-of-mouth and retailer recommendation is more important for the company, rather than pitching the products to consumers excessively.
Talking about the collaboration with Spice, Lin Qin, vice-president at Transsion Holdings, said that both Spice and Transsion understand the budget oriented segment fairly well and this similarity in ideology was the driving factor behind the joint venture. Modi also mentioned that Spice no longer wants to be seen as just a smartphone brand, and it will be providing more services going ahead, he did not elucidate further on this point.
While the newly formed joint venture seems to be taking the right approach by being consumer-centric, it will have to face tough competition from players like Xiaomi and Lenovo, which are currently dominating this price segment in the country. At a time when even Nokia is making a comeback and has launched its Nokia 3 smartphone in this price segment, it will be interesting to see how this collaboration pans out in the country.