So what should you expect from 2022? Will the brand-new Realme GT 2 series come to global markets? Could we see more tablets this year? We posed these questions to Realme vice-president and international business head Madhav Sheth as part of our coverage during CES 2022 week.
Realme GT 2 series availability: Will it leave China?
The firm launched the Realme GT 2 series in China earlier this week, with the standard GT 2 being a mild upgrade over the Realme GT while the GT 2 Pro brings plenty more upgrades to the table. There was no word at the time of a wider launch, but Sheth confirmed that a global release is indeed on the cards:
We’ll be having a global launch very soon for GT 2 series, and you’ll soon hear from us. So it’s going to be a global launch and it’s going to be in Europe also.
He also confirmed that the wider release includes India. So Realme fans in the region will be able to get their hands on the new flagship range, although there’s no time frame for launch.
More tablets and laptops?
2021 also saw Realme debut the Realme Pad as its first tablet, being a budget-tier device focused on media consumption. Furthermore, the company debuted the Realme Book as its first laptop last year too. Should we expect more tablets and laptops in 2022, then? Sheth notes that laptops and tablets form part of five product categories the company views as essential for major markets (along with audio, wearables, and TVs):
So I think yes definitely we’ll see a lot of new tablets coming in different other price segments. At the same time, laptops you’ll see coming down (sic).
Sheth would not specifically confirm whether Realme will launch flagship-level tablets in 2022, but reiterated that they were indeed trying to cover different price points.
The Realme Pad had a launch price ranging from Rs 14,000 (~$190) to Rs 18,000 (~$245). So it definitely looks like there’s room for upward movement in this regard, especially with the original tablet featuring 3GB to 4GB of RAM, 32GB to 64GB of storage, and a lower-tier Helio G80 SoC.
The Realme representative also tweeted earlier this week that the next-generation Realme Book laptop will use Intel’s new 12th generation Core processors. It’s unclear whether the new laptop will be a simple refresh or a comprehensive upgrade, but it is clear that the Realme Book isn’t a one-and-done affair.
What about updates?
2021 has also seen HMD, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi all announce that they will offer three years of OS updates to certain devices. Some of these pledges definitely seem like marketing stunts, with Vivo only fulfilling this pledge for the Vivo X70 line, for one.
Nevertheless, this is one area where Realme is lagging behind and the company previously told us a year ago that it was sticking with two years of OS updates. Unfortunately, nothing has changed since then:
I think we are still sticking to that particular point that we are going for two years of (OS) updates and the regular security patch updates for three years.
Sheth also claimed that the average lifecycle of today’s phones varied from 24 to 26 months. Still, Realme is the exception among even its BBK stablemates when it comes to offering three years of OS updates, as Oppo, OnePlus, and Vivo all offer an extended pledge for certain models. And with the likes of Samsung offering extended updates for its mid-range phones, Realme needs to offer something similar if it wants to encourage brand loyalty.
Realme has plans for the US
The US market is a tough nut for Chinese smartphone brands to crack, as only Motorola, OnePlus, and to a lesser extent TCL, have made in-roads in recent years. Is this a market that Realme wants to tackle in 2022?
Sheth says that Realme won’t be bringing smartphones to the US, but confirmed that it’s planning to bring IT and AIoT products to the market in 2022. The Realme representative didn’t name specific products, but we’re guessing that streaming TV sticks, wireless earbuds, smartwatches, and robot vacuums would be potential candidates for a US launch to rival Xiaomi.
What do you want to see from Realme in 2022? Let us know via the poll below.
What do you want to see from Realme in 2022?