Micromax Seeks to Challenge Samsung With Premium Unit

Micromax Informatics, the maker of India’s second-most popular brand of mobile phones, is starting a new venture to focus on smartphone software and Internet-connected devices.

The new company, YU Televentures, will make smartphones with premium features and update the software every two weeks, Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma said in an interview in New Delhi yesterday. YU will hire about 250 engineers in Bengaluru, the city previously known as Bangalore, to work on the software and develop new technology.

YU Televentures may help Micromax win customers focused on the latest software and compete with market leader Samsung Electronics Co. It may also help Micromax fend off China’s Xiaomi Corp., which began selling smartphones online in India in August.

“This will be the best value-for-money product ever seen globally,” Sharma said. “We will continue to disrupt the market.”

YU’s smartphones will be built on Cyanogen Inc.’s operating system, based on Google Inc.’s Android software. Customers will be able to submit new code to improve the software, Sharma said.

YU will sell its products online, beginning with established e-commerce companies in India. Its first phone will go on sale early in December. Sharma declined to discuss the price of the phones. The company will introduce other “Internet-connected devices” at the beginning of 2015.

YU will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Micromax, a closely held company. Sharma will lead the new venture.

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