Last week, while we were in Beijing for Meizu's Go Pro event – in which they announced the Meizu Pro 5 – we got the chance to chat with the company's VP, Li Nan. Who had some rather interesting things to say about the company's future as well as about the newly announced Meizu Pro 5. We have the complete transcript from the interview down below.
Alex: Let's start off with the new Meizu logo. Many companies have redesigned their logos in the past few months (Google, Lenovo, Opera, etc). Why did Meizu decide to redesign their logo now?
Li: We've been using this logo for almost 9 years [unveiled in 2005], so it's [the company] changed too much in the 9 years. Especially last year we grew really fast. Growing 400%. So that's really different compared to 9 years ago. So we wanted to upgrade our logo to let people know we are different. What's kind of different is that you can see the new logo is much more round corners than Meizu's old logo. The new logo is much more friendly. That's the real thinking of our products will be much more fundamental. Our product has round corners, which will remind customers of our logo. Making it much easier for customers to recognize our logo. Meizu's logo is much more modern now, we wanted to catch today's trend of design.
Alex: Is Meizu planning on adding quad-band support for their international devices? This way those in the US that want to import the MX5 can import it and use it on a network in the US without any issues.
Li: That's a problem, we cannot support too many bands.It's a constant problem that we can launch our phones in special countries, but later we will upgrade and hope soon we can launch quad-band support for networks all around the world.
Alex: What's the biggest hurdle when it comes to entering the US (or even North American) market? GMS certification? Regulatory?
Li: I think the biggest problem is the open market share. Meizu is a brand that has a very close relationship with their customers. It's very hard to build good relationships with carriers, because carriers have too many choices. We can see that in America the open market share is growing and we hope that if the US open market share [continues to get] bigger we can go to this market. And carriers can see Meizu's market share and get cooperation with carriers. Without an open market, it is very hard to create relationships with carriers.
Alex: Does Meizu plan to release any smartphones without the physical home button in the future?
Li: It's the best way to control our phones. Using fingerprint sensor, touch and press all in one. it's the best way so we put it all in the physical button. But going forward, it's highly possible that if there is glass fingerprint recognition we can go without a physical button, but as of today it's the best choice.
Alex: What's the next BIG step for Meizu, perhaps in 2016 and beyond?
Li: I cannot talk about that.
Alex: What happened to the MX Pro line? Was it just one and done?
Li: We have three brands, M, MX and Pro.
Alex: Does Meizu plan to make a smartwatch in the future, perhaps powered by Android Wear?
Li: We have no plans for cooperation with Google, but anything is possible.
Alex: What about tablets? Any plans for a tablet in the future?
Li: Tablets is a kind of market [that] is going down. So currently we will not go to this market.
Alex: Many have mentioned that Meizu's smartphones look similar to Apple's iPhones. Does Meizu see this as an insult or a compliment?
Li: We think with the MX5 we have a lot of differences with the iPhone's ID. But with the 2.5D glass it doesn't look like an iPhone.
Alex: What is Meizu's intentions with all these smartphones and brands (M2, M2 Note, MX5, Pro 5)? Are they targeted at different markets or price points?
Li: They are for three different customer bases. With the Pro 5 being for early adopters.
Alex: What countries is Meizu planning on selling the Pro 5?
Li: We want to launch Pro 5 in as many countries as possible, but we are talking about foreign channels about this product and the difference is that we have a very tight relationship with China, making it easier to sell. It could take several months to reach other countries.
Alex: Is Meizu looking to add larger batteries in their smartphones? We've seen some competitors from right here in China putting out phones with 4100mAh batteries, namely ZUK.
Li: That's a choice. And yes if we add a higher capacity battery, but with a new chipset is not as power hungry so a lot of the 2000-3000 batteries with the latest chipset can perform good enough. And get better battery life than from Snapdragon 810 phones.
Alex: Would you mind sharing the reasoning behind using a 1080p display on the Pro, it's interesting considering the recent Meizu high-end flagships (MX4 Pro, MX5) are using 2K or QHD displays.
Li: We used a 2K display last year and we keep a very tight communication with our customers to get feedback with this display. And yes 2K can slightly upgrade your eyesight, but it costs to much battery life and speed [performance]. So after we considered all of that, and a lot of feedback from our customers, we think a Full HD is good enough for a 5.7-inch display.
Alex: Any reason why Meizu decided to go back to Exynos for the Pro 5 this time around? For previous smartphones, you've been using MediaTek's offerings.
Li: It's the best chipset we can find right now. And Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 is not good enough and the Snapdragon 820 is not coming yet. So I think it's the best choice, its very high-speed and not as power hungry. So it's the best.