A new smartphone brand has emerged, and although this in itself isn’t unusual, it’s the company’s origins that make it worthy of your attention. Realme is its name, and despite having already launched its debut phone, it only established itself as a standalone company at the beginning of August. Realme’s founder is Sky Li, the former vice president in charge of international mobile business at smartphone company Oppo.
It’s this connection that makes Realme of particular interest. The last time two Oppo alumni got together to form a smartphone company, we ended up with OnePlus, and since that time in 2014, we have continued to be impressed by its smartphones. While there’s no guarantee Realme will have the same eventual impact as OnePlus, its beginnings make it note worthy, and its early performance shows potential for the future.
Established as a company on May 4, 2018, Li published an open letter on Facebook introducing the brand on July 30, outlining his vision for creating devices aimed at young people, emphasizing style and technology. This reminds us of Honor’s modus operandi, an area where it has found considerable success. No-one has to wait for Realme’s first phone either, as it has been released already. The Realme 1 hit India in May, and the first batch sold out in two minutes. The brand has since gone on to capture 1.4% market share in India.
The Realme 1 costs the equivalent of $200, for which you get a MediaTek Helio octa-core processor, 6GB of RAM, a 6-inch screen with a 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution, and a 13-megapixel rear camera. The phone runs Android 8.1, and interestingly comes with ColorOS over the top, which is Oppo’s custom user interface used on its own range of devices. When OnePlus launched, it did so with a device that was available only online (as with today) and with the Android-based Cyanogen OS software onboard; but caused controversy with its invitation system at the time.
How about Realme’s further plans? According to the company the next phone will also launch in India, with further launches in other Asian countries coming over the remainder of 2018. It’s not committing to any timeframe for the U.S, the U.K., or Europe; but does indicate a global presence is possible, and says it wants to build a, “solid foundation,” in each country where its products are sold.
For now, we’re unlikely to be able to easily buy a Realme phone; but all that could change in the future. It will be interesting to follow the company’s progress, and see if lightning can strike twice in the smartphone world.