The latest ad for an Indian smartphone features a young Indian cricketer known as much for his aggressive attitude as for his performance and future leadership prospects. This is precisely the image that Indian smartphone manufacturers and vendors would want to convey. In many ways, the choice for this particular cricketer can be read as a veiled message to the incumbents of the Indian smartphone market – that a change of guard is in the offing. Unlike many other sectors, where international brands lord over the market through their Indian subsidiaries, the Indian mobile phone market has seen a slew of homegrown vendors enter the fray over the last couple of years. By cleverly playing the price game in one of the most price-sensitive markets in the world, these local vendors have been able to garner market shares that threaten the current top cats.
Their tactics of selling comparitively lower-spec'd devices at even lower price bands, and then swiftly moving up the value chain, have meant that customers are flocking to them in droves. Buyers who loathe to fork out any five figure sum for a 'desi' brand seem to be ready to give the Micromaxs and Karbonns a try.
The top Indian brands
The question is – who among these will finally emerge as the strongest contender to take on the international pedigree brands. Despite all its diversity and volume, the Indian market tends to favour a duopoly in any sector. There is no reason why the smartphone market should be any different.
Here's a quick look at the local vendors who could be the big Indian smartphone success story, if you are ready to buy their wares.
Micromax Canvas A100 looks similar to the Galaxy Nexus
Although it started off with the Java run handsets, Micromax generated quite a buzz when it stepped into the smartphone arena with Superfone Canvas A100 (which looks deceptively similar to the Galaxy Nexus) featuring a 5-inch, dual SIM, 1GHz Processor, 5MP camera and powered by Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS. A price point of less than Rs 10,000 ensured that the device was an instant hit.
Karbonn Mobiles spiced things up with the A7, which featured a 3.5-inch display, 5MP camera, 800MHz processor and powered by Android Gingerbread OS. The device was priced a little over Rs 7,000, and in our review, we felt that it was a worthy option for a budget smartphone.
The 5c resembles the Samsung Galaxy Note to quite an extent
The Stellar range from Spice mobiles featured some good phones, but the one that stood out was the Stellar Mi-425. This dual-SIM phone running on the Android Gingerbread OS featured a 4-inch display, 1GHz processor and a 5MP camera. Clocking decent performance and a price of under Rs 10,000 made it quite an attractive package.
iBall too launched a slew of devices over the last couple of years, but the one that impressed us was Andi 5C. Deceptively similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note in terms of looks, this 5-inch phone running on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich has a 1GHz processor and a 5MP camera. Priced under Rs 15,000, it presented a great option for those looking for an affordable phablet.
Another brand that quite grabbed headlines was WickedLeak that launched tablets and more recently, smartphones. While its Wammy Desire tablet found many takers due to its stellar performance and a price tag of little over Rs 6,000, we hope that its Wammy Sensation smartphone too delivers. The dual-SIM Sensation will sport an impressive 12MP camera, 4.7-inch display and will run on Android 4.0 Icecream Sandwich OS. The price tag of Rs 16,000 makes it look promising.
The recently launched Android ICS-based Lava Iris 501, which sports a 1Ghz dual core processor, 5-inch display and 5 MP camera is another device priced under Rs 10,000 that could ring up decent sales for the Noida-based vendor. Xolo, the latest entrant in the market, launched its first phone X900 powered by Intel’s Medfield SoC and is back with the recently launched XOLO A800. Priced under Rs 12,000, the phone features dual core 1GHz processor, dual SIM, 4.5-inch display, 8MP auto focus camera and will run on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Needless to say, this is one device that has created quite a buzz.
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