Obi Mobiles, an upcoming smartphone manufacturer in India is planning on releasing Windows Phone based devices next month. Backed by former Apple CEO, John Scully, these devices will be priced in the Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 range.
"People are migrating from feature phones to smartphones and adoption of small phones is growing. This is a right time to be in strategic market like India," CEO Ajay Sharma told ET. "By the time we scale up and close the year, we could be even looking at 4% market share." Last year, 44 million smartphones were sold in the country, up from 16 million in 2012, according to IDC. Sharma said that momentous growth will continue and he expects it to double this year.
The smart phone market in India is huge. According to CyberMedia Research, 14.5 million smartphones were shipped into India in January to March alone.
“The India smartphones market is growing at a significant pace and consumer buying patterns and preferences are continuously evolving. The next wave of demand will come from consumers who are data hungry and want to use their device for wide range of activities. Hence, in such a scenario those vendors will be successful who focus on providing a great device experience to users, rather than simply marketing their offerings on the basis of certain set of specifications.
Going forward we can expect the India smartphone OS war to heat up as Microsoft recently waived the Windows Mobile licence fee for devices less than 9 inches screen size. This is expected to help bring more Windows Phone 8.1 device offerings into the market from OEMs who want to use Windows Mobile as the underlying OS. It will be interesting to watch how consumers in India react to the Windows Mobile offerings from vendors like Micromax, Karbonn, Lava and others, who are likely to launch their Windows Phone 8.1 devices shortly" Tarun Pathak, Analyst, Devices, CMR Telecoms Practice said.
Obi Mobile's main aim is to launch devices under the $200 range, but it won't limit itself and will also manufacture for the upper class as well. The smartphone company has a team of 50 people, some of them are ex-HTC, Micromax employees. It's also invested around $20 million towards setting up their marketing network, supply chains, design center and sales department. That's not all, Obi Mobile is also planning on launching cheap 4G enabled devices by the end of this year as well.