$140 smartphone running CyanogenMod released by Micromax

Indian smartphone vendor Micromax has unveiled the smartphone in its YU range, which will ship with KitKat-based CyanogenMod onboard.

Image: Micromax

India's biggest homegrown smartphone maker Micromax has launched the first smartphone in its new YU range, the Yureka. The handset will run CyanogenMod and cost just $140.

The company revealed the device, specs, and branding at an event in India today. Retailing for 8999 rupees ($142), the 5.5-inch Yureka has more than decent specs for the price and, unlike most budget smartphones, supports LTE.

The Yureka's first standout feature is that it ships exclusively with the popular KitKat-based custom ROM CyanogenMod, courtesy of a deal with Cyanogen Inc that put a dent in the Indian launch of the well-received but hard to come by OnePlus One.

While the Yureka is only available in 'moonshine' grey, it compensates for the muted palette with an otherwise sleek design and CyanogenMod's custom themes, which allow owners to choose their own fonts, boot-up animations, and homescreen colours. The OS lets users select five apps they can access from the lockscreen while a double tap wakes up the phone in sleep mode.

The smartphone also inherits CyanogenMod features such as 'heads-up' notifications that arrived in Lollipop, and CyanogenMod's take on quick settings. Another nifty customisation is the ability to switch between software and hardware versions of the home, back, and recents buttons.

The Yureka doesn't skimp on hardware, and includes a 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera, with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, and expandable memory up to 32GB. It's powered by Qualcomm's 64-bit 1.5GHz Snapdragon 615 octa core chip and packs a 2500mAh battery. Meanwhile, the 5.5-inch display offers a HD resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 267 ppi.

While the Yureka targets India's tech-savvy crowd with 4G connectivity, it also supports dual SIM found on most budget devices that ship to India (the Yureka is only on sale in the country).

According to the Times of India, pre-orders for the device open on Amazon's India website on December 19.

The new Yu brand joins several recent arrivals vying for sales in India as the country increasingly makes the transition from feature phones to smartphones.

India was the fastest growing smartphone market in the Asia Pacific region in the third quarter of this year, said analyst IDC. With 24 percent market share, Samsung is still the largest smartphone brand in India but isn't growing as fast as local rivals, including Karbonn, Lava, and Micromax. According to IDC, 32 percent of the 72.5 million handsets sold in India in the third quarter were smartphones, up from 19 percent a year ago.

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