Fold phone’s performance is very low: Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth


Realme set a new benchmark in charging speed at the MWC event this year. Realme announced 240W charging with the Realme GT3. The charging solution is capable of taking the device to peak range in just 9 minutes.

At MWC 2023, we caught up with Madhav Sheth, CEO, VP and President of realme International Business Group, realme India.

In the interview, Sheth reveals the company’s plans for 2023, as well as highlights his opinion and market plans for foldables, chromebooks, and gaming phones.

Realme’s 240W charging eases battery worries

Realme’s GT3 smartphone has 240W fast charging support and according to Sheth, it has its own health benefits.

“This phone (Realme GT 3) gets fully hundred percent charged in 8 to 9 minutes and this is something which gives you a lot of peace of mind and thus also reduces your stress and anxiety.”

Furthermore, Sheth revealed that with every phone, the company thinks about how it can increase the efficiency of consumers in daily life.

Realme’s major focus for 2023 will be on the Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 segment

When asked about the company’s plans for 2023, Sheth indicated that the Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 segment would be one of the biggest keys.

“Mid-range phones, starting from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000, will be one of the biggest keys as replacement cycles have reduced due to various reasons and affordability has come into the picture.”

“While affordability has come into the picture, a lot of young people are looking to adopt newer phones and higher-end phones, but at the same time, I would say, 5G is helping to shorten the replacement cycle.”

“So for this (Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000) price point the replacement cycle has gone up to 14 or 15 months.”

The standard normal replacement cycle is approximately 24 to 26 months.

Entry-level 5G phones may not arrive until the second half of 2023

Last year, Realme was one of the first brands to confirm that its 5G devices would be more affordable, and devices above Rs 15,000 would mostly be 5G handsets.

Now, the company’s India CEO has revealed that 5G phones around Rs 10,000 could be coming, but not anytime soon. Entry-level 5G phones for around Rs 10,000 could launch in late 2023 depending on a few factors.

“I don’t see it happening in H1 of 2023, maybe H2 of 2023 as 5G penetration will reach much faster in H2 as networks and operators will be able to roll out 5G services faster ”

“I would not want the consumer to pay only for the logo on the back of the phone”

Realme currently plays in the Rs 50,000 segment, while brands like Xiaomi have already crossed the Rs 70,000 segment.

When asked whether Realme will bring an “ultra premium” phone priced above Rs 70,000, Sheth indicated that it does not want to raise the price just for the logo on the back of the phone.

Instead, depending on the features and technology, it may go beyond the said range and may even introduce a Rs 1,00,000 phone.

“For me, the definition of an ultra premium smartphone is all about the features and specs were able to deliver, it’s not just about the logo on the back of the phone.”

“I wouldn’t want a consumer to pay just for the logo on the back of the phone, but I would also like the consumer to pay for the experience of the phone, obviously the logos are extremely important.”

“It’s not about Rs 70,000 phone, but tomorrow if I have a better technology which is first in the market, and very useful for consumers and creating more efficiency, maybe I’ll bring 100k phone, but that’s all Some depend on what kind of innovations I’m trying to bring to market.

“India has become a benchmark market globally”

India’s smartphone market has grown and perhaps this is one of the reasons why brands are now focusing more on launching India-centric products.

“India being the largest millennial population in the world, the highest usage scenario for any smartphone, you will find in India. So using this millennial population, mainly Indians as a benchmark, has become one of the industry standards,” said Agarwal when asked about the difference between the Indian consumer market and the rest of the global market. Sheth said.

Are realme foldables coming soon?

Realme doesn’t seem to have any plans to launch a foldable phone, but a flip phone could be something Realme might be planning, as indicated by Sheth in his answers.

“The functionality of the fold phone is pretty minimal, I’ve tried a few prototypes, hardly ever I’ve seen I try to open the fold once a day because we don’t need it.”

“No functionality to use, yes, it’s a differentiated function, it’s nice to have it, it’s nice to do different things from friends, but is it really nice to use? Probably not.”

“So the flip might be one of those things that people would love to experience because of that sense of nostalgia.”

“I’ve talked to hundreds of people, for them it (the folding phone) is just a differentiating factor.”

Are realme gaming phones coming soon?

While brands like Asus tried to settle into the gaming phone space with their ROG, it doesn’t seem to have captured the market properly. Looks like other brands in India are also ignoring the gaming phone space.

Here’s what the CEO of Realme India revealed when asked about the plans for the gaming phone.

Madhav Sheth said, “Perhaps we have too much in common.”

Connected ecosystem industry will grow 10x

Apart from phones, Realme has its own ecosystem of products such as smartwatches, earbuds, laptops, TVs and smart home devices – and it looks like it continues to strengthen its ecosystem by launching more devices.

“We have an industry survey that in 2024, this market will grow almost 10 times. So I believe fundamentally, the connected ecosystem devices are extremely important for all brands, it makes sense commercially as well for us to get more consumers, but at the same time it’s extremely important for consumers It is important that they have a connected ecosystem at home too,” said Sheth.

Furthermore, Sheth also revealed that the company is looking at ‘a lot of consumer data points’ when asked about plans for any potential Chromebooks alongside the laptop range.

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