Spice, Karbonn, Micromax to launch $100 Google One smartphones

Smartpone user India

Spice, Karbonn and Micromax are set to launch Google One smartphones – costing around $100 – in India on Monday.

Earlier, Firefox introduced budget smartphones in the $30-40 range.

Google announced the Android One initiative in June this year to bring in under-$100 handsets targeting the next one billion population to the Android operating system ecosystem. Google faces tough competition from Mozilla Firefox in the low-end smartphone market.

You will not see Android One smartphones in several developed mobile phone markets.

Smartphone growth drivers in India

IDC India says smartphone market is expected to more than double between now and 2018 and much of this is expected to be driven by the migration from feature phones to smartphones.

Firefox and Google are stepping up their presence in India primarily because of the growing demand for smartphones in India. On the other hand, smartphone growth is near saturation in some of the European markets.

“The user expectations are simple i.e. best-in-class user experience at affordable prices. With the introduction of Mozilla and Android One, the sub 200$ segment is anticipated to become even more appealing,” said Kiran Kumar, research manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

The new BJP Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also giving new hopes to smartphone vendors.

IDC anticipates high growth in the smartphone market in the coming quarters due to the festive season and continuous run rate buying from the consumer.

A new entry level price point is being breached by the Indian home grown vendors every quarter. These devices are not equipped with high end specifications and RAM is typically 256 MB. “This ultra low cost segment may not sound a viable option to the repeat buyers, but it works well on the targeted segment,” says Karan Thakkar, senior market analyst at IDC India.

Smartphone usage in 2013 in India

E-commerce boom in India

While homegrown online marketplace majors Flipkart and Snapdeal will be exclusively selling Android One smartphones from Spice and Karbonn, respectively, US-based e-commerce giant Amazon’s Indian arm will sell handsets from Micromax, said a report in HindustanTimes.com.

All the three handset makers have come out with teasers of their launch.

Smartpone user India

Earlier, Motorola and Xiaomi have launched their smartphones on Flipkart, while Spice, Micromax and Intex have launched their devices on Snpdeal.

IDC says smartphone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn.

In the second quarter of 2014, 18.42 million smartphones were shipped in India. Though Samsung is the leader with a 29 percent market share, Micromax (18 percent), Karbonn (8 percent) and LAVA (6 percent) are close competitors. IDC anticipates that there can be changes in the top 5 smartphone market share list for India.

While Android is the dominant operating system globally, other OS like Windows and Apple iOS are also gaining traction. Also, newer platforms like Firefox and Tizen may emerge as strong challengers to Google’s platform.

Google’s attempts to also important as it aims to capture a larger share of the entry-level segment.

Recently, Firefox in partnership with Spice and Intex launched new smartphones, priced below Rs 2,300, aimed at those looking to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones.

Pix: Flipkart advt on Karbonn

Baburajan K
[email protected]