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A smartphone and a laptop are just the beginning, says Smartron founder Mahesh Lingareddy


Smartron, India’s IoT brand launched its first smartphone called the t.phone. The device comes with some impressive hardware, but Smartron wants to focus on software as well. The company will be offering unlimited free storage on its t.cloud service and offers an almost stock version of Android Marshmallow that comes its Tronx layer that runs independent independent of the underlying OS.

While the smartphone may seem a bit dated with its Snapdragon 810 that is almost half a year old, Smartron is pretty confident about its product range that also includes a t.book 2-in-1 hybrid tablet. “There is tremendous interest in t.book and t.phone in markets beyond India. We are getting enquiries from Russia and SE Asia. We want to eventually sell globally.” said Mahesh Lingareddy, founder and chairman of Smartron. For its smartphone, the company will be going with the standard online sales channel. On being asked why it did not go down the flash sales route that new companies take on to reduce risks, “We have no concept of flash sale. We have a fixed price and we are prepared to support whatever the demand is.”

Smartron’s current range of devices that includes the t.phone and t.book are not manufactured in India. But the founder has a positive outlook towards this, “In the next two to three years we will bring all manufacturing facilities to India. We want to add manufacturing capability to our portfolio.” At the same time Smartron is looking at the bigger picture, “Smartphone and laptop is just the beginning. We want to build a whole Ecosystem of devices specially in the IoT space and have related services to go along with it”

With a price tag of Rs 22,999 buyers will be comparing the smartphone with famous Chinese brands like Xiaomi that have taken over the smartphone market when it comes to the value for money quotient. However, Lingareddy remained positive, “Chinese brands come and go. We don’t plan to release many models like that. We have one device. There will be no t.phone 2 till next year. The user will have a seamless connectivity with the tron.x platform and with t.cloud. We want to ensure the products reach every corner of the country.”

The founder of Smartron however did comment that it was a learning processes and that it will take some time to ramp things up, “We need to believe in our abilities, have patience and innovate. If you want to build a hardware product, it takes tens of millions of dollars. So we are going to raise capital, like any other startup.”

Lingareddy said that for now the company has partnered with Foxconn Technologies who will build its products out of China. When questioned about why not ‘Make in India’, he said “Capabilities to assemble this kind of device are high end so hence we are starting with Foxconn. We are working closely with Foxconn to setup an assembly line in India. Whenever they’re ready, we will make phones in India.”