Many Indian smartphone vendors have teamed up Google for its Android One program, but the Lava International owned Xolo is not joining the bandwagon. On Wednesday, the company announced the Xolo 8X-1000 smartphone, which is its first smartphone to feature its HIVE OS, an Android user interface the company has developed from the ground up.
While vendors like Micromax and Karbonn are gravitating towards offering a stock Android like interface on their phone with programs like Android One, Xolo's HIVE UI will give users a unique interface with features not found on Android. The HIVE launcher separates apps based on time, a bit like the Everything Me launcher. It offers a suite of widgets for the music player, calls and messages and its app switcher like MiUI on Xiaomi's smartphones has a RAM cleaner, which kills all apps.
It features a flat user interface with round icons and dials. Xolo wants HIVE to be a live OS and wants to offer users new features quickly. For this it has the "connect" platform that will foster collaboration between developers, tinkerers and users so that new features can be cooked up and added to the OS, much like what Xiaomi does with its MiUI community.
The best ideas will be added to HIVE and "connect" will also help users communicate with the developers for bugs, new ideas and service centres. Xolo will reward engagement with credits for digital content.
The phone itself is also quite powerful. It is powered by the octa-core MediaTek TruOcta processor and has a 5-inch 720p screen reinforced with Asahi DragonTail glass. It has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card for memory expansion. It has a 8-megapixel Sony Exmor-R sensor and a 2.1-megapixel front facing camera. It's design is also quite attractive and reminds us of the two year old Google Nexus 5 and the recently launched Panasonic Eluga as its back it also covered in glass. For extra protection, the back of the device has Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The 8X-1000 will have heavy competition. It will compete with the Xiaomi Mi 3, the Moto G, Obi Octopus S520 and the Karbonn Titanium Octane. In terms of specs, except the Xiaomi Mi 3 it competes well with its rivals, but the question is if it can deliver a compelling differentiated experience? That only time will tell.