Budget Smartphones Would Rule Emerging Markets [Editorial]

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In the year 2013, we have seen many high-end and mid-segment smartphones being launched in India. The latest high-end smartphone to be launched is Sony’s Xperia Z in the price of approx. Rs. 39,000 and then we have seen Optimus G by LG for Rs. 34,000, Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 for Rs. 38,000 and Rs. 27,000 respectively. To add glamour to high-end segment, two more stylish and features filled devices are coming in April – HTC One by HTC of Taiwan and Galaxy S IV by industry leader Samsung. Both these smartphones will fall in the category of approx. Rs. 40,000 to 45,000.

This year, we also saw many mid-level smartphones making inroads into Indian market, with huge success. Notable among this category is Galaxy Grand for approx. Rs. 21,000, which is selling like hot cakes, Nokia’s Lumia 820 for Rs. 27,000. Interestingly, Nokia has announced its Lumia 720 which will be in the price range of approx. Rs. 17,000 and this phone will sell in good numbers when it arrives in India in mid-April.

We should not forget the huge response which Micromax is receiving for its latest 5 inch Canvas A116 HD smrtphone, which is direct competitor of Samsung’s  Galaxy Grand. The Convas A116 HD is so attractively priced at Rs 14,000 that the buyers have flooded the company with orders and see the irony, the company is not able to ship the handsets. From this experience, one can imagine that how much is demand for lower priced smartphones in India.

We have attended many launch events and gathered the impressions that every company is upbeat about its smartphones. But the moot question is how many people can afford to buy a smartphone of Rs. 35K to 45K range, and how frequently. We have not come across exact figures of a particular model of smartphone being sold by any company to arrive at a conclusion about buying capacity of high-end smartphones in India.

On the contrary, we are of the opinion that affordable and budjet smartphones have huge potential in India. This is the reason that Nokia is selling Asha series in good numbers in India and to take this success story further in smartphone arena, they have come out with Windows 8 Lumia 520 for Rs. 10,000, which is going to be accepted well by the buyers. This is the reason that Micromax’s Convas HD 116 has found huge audience because of its size and price.

This is the reason that search engine and online advertising giant Google is also mulling about budjet smartphone of $ 50 range. Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who is in India, informed the reporters yesterday that the day was not far off when a basic smartphone with a web browser and web-client apps would be available in the market at a price of around $50. If we convert in Indian Rupees and add custom duty then this basic smartphone would be in the sub Rs. 3000 range.

Imagine, a smartphone with Google branding and the basic feature, this development will bamboozle all the players of budjet phones and everybody would go in for smartphones. This is quite possible as the technology is advancing so fast and the scale of economy will reduce the price of components. If a company has to penetrate into big markets like India and China, they will have to bring out economical and good  smartphones and there are enormous opportunities to sell in huge numbers.

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