Smartphone makers continue launching new models despite MCO

Mobile devices, a non-essential item, see a boost in demand as consumers can get their hands on the latest smartphones via online platforms

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic credit: www.mi.com

SMARTPHONE makers are continuing to roll out new models despite supply woes induced by Covid-19, as the pandemic has also boosted demand for mobile devices amid various versions of lockdowns across countries globally.

Last week, Xiaomi launched its latest and much-anticipated Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro in Malaysia with a starting price of RM2,799.

The phones, which are 5G-ready out of the box, were made available for online purchase via the official Xiaomi Malaysia Lazada store, as well as on its offline authorised Mi Stores starting from May 1, 2020.

Other smartphone makers such as realme, Vivo, Huawei and OnePlus have also been launching and selling their latest models in Malaysia despite the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Although all non-essential trade is banned under the MCO, consumers can get their hands on the latest smartphones via online platforms such as Lazada, Shopee, SenQ, Harvey Norman and Senheng.

In an open letter to investors, Xiaomi Corp chairman and co-founder Lei Jun said smartphones are essential during this time, as they are able to connect people in isolation.

“During the Covid-19 outbreak, as we witnessed people in isolation connecting with their family, loved ones and even their pets through their smart devices, we could feel the very human desires to connect and to care.

“A connected world is better than an isolated one. We firmly believe technology can be a force for good to improve lives everywhere,” he said.

Through efficient operations, strong execution capabilities and consumer trust, Xiaomi will seek out opportunities during the crisis and stay on a sustainable growth trajectory, he added.

“We remain optimistic about our future prospects. Since March, our supply capacity has recovered to 90% of normal levels and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel in China,” he said.

realme Malaysia recently launched a special One Day Flash Sale through its official e-commerce store on Shopee, selling the latest realme 6i (3+64GB) for just RM599 instead of the retail price of RM699.

The RM100 discount was given on all purchases made on April 23, 2020, in conjunction with the “Raya Bersama Shopee” campaign.

Thanks to the sale, the realme 6i broke the record on Shopee as the fastest-selling smartphone where 1,000 units were sold out in under 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, Vivo’s new mid-range smartphone, the Vivo V19, was made available for pre-order via SenQ’s online store from April 25, 2020, onwards.

Huawei also launched its latest flagship series P40 and P40 Pro earlier this month, whereby buyers can pre-order the device through the Huawei online store and the official store on Lazada. Delivery began on April 11, 2020.

OnePlus Malaysia recently made its OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro available for pre-order on its official Lazada and Shopee stores. Shipments will begin on May 5.

It is also expected that Covid-19 will not stop Apple Inc from releasing its highly-anticipated “affordable” smartphone.

Reports suggest the new Apple device will be called the iPhone SE or iPhone 9 and could have a starting price under US$400 (RM1,743).

Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said Apple is getting into the launch season, as rumours have been escalating that the technology giant will unveil the new iPhone very soon.

“The new models will be arriving at a time of surging use of desktop or laptop computers by people staying home instead of being out and about relying on smartphones,” she added.

Google is also believed to be waiting to launch its Pixel 4A and 4A XL series, following the success of last year’s Pixel 3A and 3A XL.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd may be rolling out its possible new phones, the Galaxy Fold 2 and Galaxy Note 20, though the company has remained silent on the launch date so far.

Oppo Malaysia posted a teaser of a new A-series smartphone on its official Facebook page this month. However, it did not announce an expected launch date for the new phone.