Indians should expect inexpensive advanced phones with focus on Social Networking in 2010

In India mobiles are quite popular. If one compares the reach of mobile with the reach of internet; the mobile reach far exceeds that of PC internet. As a result, if one has to deliver connectivity of any kind, it should preferably be the Mobiles.


As from a customer perspective a modest PC with internet costs around three times of an advanced phone available. In addition, mobiles provide portability and are primarily used for making calls. From the provider perspective, in a country as vast as India, spreading PC internet is a money intensive activity compared to mobile connectivity.

But till now, most mobile makers focused on spreading the reach of mobiles in India. As a result those who wanted advanced phones (smartphones) had very little choice. But in the past one year things have changed drastically, and mobile makers who till now were concerned with the reach, have now trained their eye on a new segment, which from the past one year wants to graduate to an advanced phones either to have advanced mobile experience (surfing web, socializing, shopping etc.) or for whom it’s time to move to something better.

According to Opera, the maker of the most used mobile browser in India: in the past one year number of mobile Facebook users in the country has increased more than five times. The country's top social networking site Orkut saw an almost three-fold growth, during the same time frame. In addition the number of users in major social networks is fast growing as well.

It’s not that the market was deficient of advanced phones till now, but the picture was not that clear. As a result the phones which arrived were more targeted towards those with ample means or advanced Tech users. As a result the price was never a concern.

But with a high mobile reach, coupled with factual data on the fast growing social network users in the country, the price has become the decisive factor. The mobile makers understand that in addition to the segment which already buys advanced phones; they also have to cater to a new segment (and they make a considerable chunk) which has to graduate from basic phones to advanced phones. And this is the segment which makes for the popularity of the social networks in the country. One important characteristic of this new segment is that they are tech savvy and still have to depend on their parents to get a phone.

As said, to cater to this segment the price is real factor; and unless the device makers make conscious effort to price their entries realistically; they will not be able to convince the segment to buy their advanced phones. Realistic pricing means a price 60-70 percent higher than a last basic phone (with a camera, FM or MP3) buy.

But the trend towards inexpensive advanced phones has already started, Realizing this INQ, released past weekend, two of its popular models Mini and Chat at a price of 5,399 (INR) and 7599 (INR) respectively. The pricing seems quite competitive, so one can hope that it’ll become popular.

The SA outlook for smartphones for 2010, also points to the arrival of many better phones at cheaper prices, now that phone makers have noted the growing popularity of social networks. Indians should expect inexpensive advanced phones with focus on Social Networking in 2010. --------

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