Being a follower of electronics – especially those having origins in China, I was very excited to hear about UMI being launched in India. I was glad about the fact that I would be able to avail the X2 at the same price as the Chinese, and avail domestic warranty without having to send the device back to China. I was caught off guard by the UMI guys over at India – if they actually represent UMI, which is not clear even as of today. I will be referring to the people behind this as ‘the people’ henceforth in this article. So, the people were fast in setting up innumerable Facebook pages and websites – www.umimobiles.in, www.umimobiles.com, www.umimobile.in, https://www.facebook.com/umimobile, https://www.facebook.com/UmiIndia. Indians are in the coming-of-age phase when it is electronics, so the interest they managed to garner was HUGE. Apart from the websites and webpages, the people were also quick in setting up a working bank account and a ‘customer care unit’ which never had an executive who could attend your call, all of them apparently were ‘busy on other calls’.
The first Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/umimobile, also the most popular in terms of followers (3376 followers at the time of writing this post), was set up on January the 30th, 2013. Since then, the people have announced various devices – ranging from ultra low budget phablets to UMI’s flagship, the UMI X2. The device became hugely popular, and UMI got many takers at the same time. The device was priced at 14,000 INR which is pretty much at par with the Chinese counterparts, and a person like me would think the device is a steal at that price, since I have only been importing gadgets from China and they tend to cost a whole lot more after import. Anyway, back to the people. They also put up a pre-order link, where the buyer had to pay 500 INR at the time of booking and the remaining 13500 INR before shipment. Pre-ordering and online payments do not have many fans in India, where people started buying online only after the introduction of the COD (Cash On Delivery) concept. In spite of that, people went ahead and pre booked the UMI X2 in huge numbers – only to be disappointed through the coming months. If my memory serves me right, people started pre-booking in February, and were promised delivery in March. In March, the people started putting up statuses on the UMI Facebook page saying the devices would be in India on xxx date, and that they would start shipment on yyy date. Unfortunately for the buyers, nothing materialized, the string of false promises grew by the day. Now, people were starting to get agitated, and the only way to get in contact with the people was via the Facebook page. So, buyers started putting allegations on the people and started posting their queries on the Facebook page as they had nowhere else to go to. The people’s reply to this was amazing – all those who asked questions on delivery and vented their anger, WERE BLOCKED FROM THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. People without access to the internet and debit/credit cards paid the pre-booking amount offline, and many did not even have proof to show they did. This sort of a behaviour from a company trying to make a name for itself is not expected.
I bought myself an UMI X1 last year, imported from China, and was quite happy with it. I had also reviewed the device which got a good response and pushed me forward to review the UMI X2 as well – but this behaviour from the people made me swear to myself to not buy an UMI device unless it is for free.
I am still in confusion if it is the same UMI guys as the ones who make the device in China, since there were talks about a franchise called AndroidGuruz (www.androidguruz.com, https://www.facebook.com/Androidguruz (the website says ‘coming soon’ since more than 2 months)) which would be selling a total of 42 Chinese branded phones in India including UMI, Jiayu, Xiaomi, etc. I would hope that it is the AndroidGuruz people behind this fiasco, being a liker of UMI.
Also I would suggest readers to NOT pre book any device with UMI/AndroidGuruz until you have seen the device in stock or at a retail store out of the 200 they claim to be working on.
Following are the sort of false promises I talked about – none of them has materialized yet.
I was one among the other 9000+ to call and there was no call back, which they had promised to do.
Posted this picture a few weeks back but no word yet.
It never came to India.
No deliveries were announced, even after almost 2 moths.