The curious case of the Micromax Canvas HD

by Satish Suggala on February 17, 2013

[This post by AndroGuru Nikhil Daphale aims to unravel the mystery behind the wildly popular Micromax Canvas series]

Let’s look at what Micromax calls themselves, first.


“Micromax is an Indian consumer electronics manufacturer located at GurgaonHaryana,India. It focuses on the manufacturing of mobile telephones and LED Televisions. It has 23 domestic offices across the country and international offices in Hong Kong, USA and Dubai.[4][5] Presently, the company has about 1400 employees. Micromax Informatics Limited has announced its foray into Maldivian telecom space through an exclusive partnership with Sense Wood Maldives (Pvt) Ltd.

Micromax is the 3rd largest manufacturer in India and 12th largest handset manufacturer in the world”

That sounds great on paper.  But Micromax isn’t a device manufacturer at all. It simply rebrands chinese phones. Micromax A60 is the ZTE Penguin,  the  A85 is Aliyun W-800 and A90 is Gionee 868.

Obviously, none of that matters to most people, as Micromax is a “brand” now. In India, you can become a brand in two dichotomous ways. First way is to create iconic products(Nokia 3310) and give exemplary service. The other is to sponsor a bunch of events(Sunburn, few music awards, India-Sri Lanka “domestic matches” and so on.) without having a substantial product.

Till now, Micromax was a nonentity in the premium segment, until it launched the CANVAS HD.  It was the first budget quad core device to be taken seriously and surely it got sold out in minutes. The phone itself is good. But here are my problems with it.

1) It is not Canvas HD but a rebranded Ginoee GN878, I’m not too sure, but it looks like that to me.

2) The term quad core is misleading. The high end quad core phones are actually ARM cortex A9 quad core phones whilst Canvas HD is a cortex A7 quad core phone.

“What is this cortex thing. Why can’t I have this phone in pink?” is what a female acquaintance asked me today. The next few lines will need an elementary understanding of microprocessors.

Cortex A9:

Cortex-A9 MPCore offers up to 4 processors delivering when needed, on lightweight workload as well as peak performance. Its configurability and flexibility allows Cortex-A9 to scale across a wide variety of markets and applications.

ARM Physical IP is available to support a synthesizable flow optimized for lowest power or highest performance, as well as a choice of hard-macros reducing risk and shortening time-to-market to a minimum. Enhanced ARM Graphics IP like Mali-624 as well as ARM System IP such as CoreLink NIC-400/301 network interconnect and CoreLink DMC-342 dynamic memory controller allow a rapid system design. ARM Development Suite 5 (DS-5™) tools and enhanced CoreSight Debug & Trace IP like CoreSight SoC-400 and CoreSight Design Kit for Cortex-A9 (DK-A9) allow instant software development that is backed by a broad software ecosystem.

Cortex A7:

The ARM Cortex™-A7 MPCore™ processor is the most efficient application processor ARM has ever developed and dramatically extends ARM’s low-power leadership in future entry level smart phones, tablets and other advanced mobile devices.

The architecture and feature set of the Cortex-A7 processor are identical to the Cortex-A15 processor, with differences in the Cortex-A7 processor’s microarchitecture focused on providing optimum energy efficiency, enabling the two processors to operate in tandem in a big.LITTLE configuration to provide the ultimate combination of high-performance with ultra low power consumption.

A7 is inferior to A9 and a quad core A7(canvas HD)  is equivalent to dual core A9(Samsung Galaxy S2)

(I guess this is how the phone can be sold so cheap – Satish)

3) Micromax is tacky.

4) If you like tacky, buy the original OEM, it’ll get OS updates. Micromax has never and I mean never upgraded the phones. They sell the phones and that’s that. They don’t even release the kernel source(which is mandatory according to GNU-GPL)

Bottom line: Canvas HD is a good phone, but its not canvas HD, it won’t get any software updates(officially) and it is not a true quad core device.

Still, as I type this, 5 people are buying Canvas HD from various websites. The irony.

[Ed's note - Problem is no one cares about the finer things. India wants cheap and India wants them 'apparently' good. I personally would start recommending Micromax if they released the kernel source and started giving out software updates.]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

yash3339 March 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Great post.


shivakant December 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Dear ALL ,

I have started a blog to make people Aware of Micromax Cheap Phones and Bad Service kindly share your stories to support it



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