comscore Realme's Madhav Sheth reveals 2023 plans, take on foldables, chromebooks, and more

Functionalities of fold phones are quite less: Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth

Realme will focus more on Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 segment this year, instead of going beyond Rs 70,000 price bracket.


  • Realme to focus on Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 segment in 2023.
  • Ecosystem market to grow by 10x in 2024, Realme to continue to bring more ecosystem devices.
  • Realme may not launch an a foldable phone, but a Flip phone may be considered, owing to nostaglia and its functionalities.
Madhav Sheth

Image: Realme

Realme set a new benchmark in charging speeds at the MWC event this year. Realme announced 240W charging with the Realme GT 3. The charging solution is capable of taking the device up to the brim in just 9 minutes. Also Read - Madhav Sheth steps down as India head to take on global role at Realme

At MWC 2023, we had a conversation with Madhav Sheth, the CEO at Realme India, VP, and President at Realme International Business Group. Also Read - Realme to soon bring a new India biz head from China, Madhav Sheth may quit

In the interview, Sheth revealed the company’s plans for 2023 while also shedding light on his opinions and markets plans for foldables, chromebooks, and gaming phones. Also Read - How to block call from unknown number on iPhone, Android smartphone

Realme’s 240W charging reduces battery anxiety

Realme’s GT 3 smartphone boasts 240W fast charging support and that has its very own health benefits, as per Sheth.

“This phone (Realme GT 3) charges in 8 to 9 minutes completely to a hundred percent and that’s something which  gives you a lot of mental peace and that’s how it reduces your stress and anxiety as well.”

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

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

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

“The mid-ranger phones, starting from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000, would be one of the biggest key takeaways because the replacement cycles have reduced because of multiple reasons and the affordability has come into the picture.”

“While the affordability has come into the picture, lot of youngsters want to adopt new phones and the high-end phones, but at the same point of time, I would say, 5G is helping the replacement cycle to get lowered.”

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

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

Entry-level 5G phones may not arrive until H2 of 2023

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

Now, the company’s India CEO revealed that 5G phones at around Rs 10,000 may arrive but not anytime soon. Entry-level 5G phones at around Rs 10,000 may launch in late 2023 depending on some factors.

“I do not see it happening as early as H1 of 2023, in H2 of 2023 it might happen because the 5G penetration will be much faster getting into H2 as the networks and operators would be much faster in rolling out the 5G services across.”

“I would not like a consumer only to pay for the logo behind the phone”

Realme is currently playing under Rs 50,000 segment, whereas, brands like Xiaomi have already crossed the Rs 70,000 segment.

When asked whether Realme will bring an “Ultra Premium” phone costing above Rs 70,000, Sheth signaled that it doesn’t want to increase the price just for the logo behind the phone.

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

“For me, the definition of Ultra Premium smartphone is all about the features and the specs were are able to give, it’s not just about the logo behind the phone.”

“I would not like a consumer only to pay for the logo behind the phone, but I would also like the consumer to pay for the experience of the phone, definitely the logos are extremely important.”

“It’s not about having a Rs 70,000 phone, but tomorrow if in case I have a better technology which is the first in the market, and very useful and making more efficiency to the consumers, maybe I’ll bring a 100k phone, but it all depends upon what type of innovations am trying to bring to the market.”

“India has become a benchmark market globally”

India’s smartphone market has grown and that’s probably one of the reasons why brands are now more focused on launching India-centric products.

“India being the biggest millennial population in the world, the most use case scenarios for any smartphone, you’ll get from India. The consumers in India, youngsters in India are more demanding towards their smartphones or they are expecting more out of their smartphones. So using this millennial population, mainly Indians as a benchmark, has become one of the Industry standards,” said Sheth when asked about the difference between the Indian consumer market and the rest of the global market.

Are Realme foldables coming soon?

Realme doesn’t seem to have any plans of launching foldable phones, but a flip phone could be something that Realme may plan, as hinted at by Sheth in his responses.

“Functionalities of fold phones are quite less, I’ve tried some prototypes, probably I’ve seen that hardly I try to open folds once in a day because we do not need it.”

“There’s no functionality to use, Yes, it is a differentiated function, it’s good to hold, good to have differentiating things from friends, but is it really good to use? probably not.”

“So Flip may be one of the things which people would love to experience because of the nostalgia feeling.”

“I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, for them, it’s (Folding phones) just a differentiating factor.”

Are Realme gaming phones coming soon?

While brands like Asus with its ROG tried to settle into the gaming phone space, it didn’t seem to have captured the market properly. Other brands in India also seem to have been overlooking the gaming phone space.

Here’s what Realme’s India CEO summed up when asked about plans for gaming phones.

“Probably we have a lot in line,” said Madhav Sheth.

Connected Ecosystem industry to grow by 10x

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

“We have an industry survey, whereby in 2024, this market is to grow by about 10x. So I believe that basically, the connected ecosystem devices are extremely important for all the brands, it commercially also makes sense for us to acquire more consumers, but at the same point of time it is extremely important for the consumers to have connected ecosystems at their home as well,” said Sheth.

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

  • Published Date: March 3, 2023 7:36 PM IST
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