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Micromax discontinuing YU line of smartphones: report

Micromax has decided to discontinue its YU line of smartphones, reports TeleAnlysis. The last smartphone that came out in that line was in May last year, the YU Yunicorn. Micromax decided to discontinue the brand as it saw “no differentiating factor” in YU to set it apart from its other product lines, according to anonymous sources cited by TeleAnalysis, . The report said that multiple current and former employees have confirmed that the product line has already been discontinued. No new YU phone has been released in almost one year.

Micromax CEO Rahul Sharma was quoted as simply saying “Just wait and see”. MediaNama has reached out to the company for comment.

An online-only brand

Micromax started the YU lineup to be sold as an online-only brand, following Motorola’s success in peddling its devices on online marketplaces. The plan reportedly went through even though CEO Rahul Sharma was the only founding member in favour of the plan. As the “differentiating factor” that Micromax eventually saw a lack of, CyanogenMod, a variant of the Android OS, was used for all YU phones. CyanogenMod was shut down last December. As a result, YU phones are no longer getting updates, perhaps excluding security patches pushed through by Micromax.

“Wrong and whimsical”

There was always internal opposition to the YU lineup since it was first announced three years ago. The reported also quoted an anonymous employee and said the decision to create a completely new brand separate from Micromax’s other devices “wrong and whimsical”. A new brand, though internally opposed, was less risky for Micromax at the time, because its smartphone sales were second only to Samsung then. In a rush to tap smartphone buyers who shopped on online marketplaces, the company went ahead with the plan. Now, it is left with no new YU phone in the market, and with a significant quantity of unsold stock.

Even before CyanogenMod was discontinued, the company started distributing YU phones in physical retail stores, dealing another blow to YU, and challenging the attributes it sought to distinguish the product line from others.

Fate unclear

While YU reportedly postponed the launch of another device from October last year to December, and then indefinitely, it is now unclear whether Micromax might resurrect the brand, or make any official announcement about its fate.

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