Local brands are increasingly popular in India, with more than 50% of the smartphone market, while Nokia only holds around 5%. Pursuing support by local brands is therefore an important strategy which appears to be meeting with some success.
Indian smartphone challenger XOLO has told the Economic Times of India they plan to be the first native Indian brand to launch a Windows Phone next year.
“We are likely to launch the first XOLO Windows Phone by early next quarter, which will make us the first Indian smartphone maker to launch Windows Phone in India,” Vishal Sehgal, Co-founder & Director of XOLO said.
“Pricing of these devices would be no different from the prices of XOLO Android smartphones and tablets. XOLO Windows Phone smartphones would be priced in the $150-$300 range,” he continued.
“There is certainly an ecosystem cost attached to the Windows OS, which is higher. But it’s an early stage scenario, as time goes by, we believe that it will also get neutralised,” he further added.
The handsets may be TD-LTE equipped, as the company was launching support for the service soon with Bharti Airtel.
XOLO hopes to sell around half a million devices per quarter and hopes for 10% of the Indian smartphone market by the end of the quarter.
On their twitter account Nokia India confirmed rumours that the Nokia Lumia 1520 will be launching in India on the 16th December.
Guess who is coming tomorrow? http://t.co/Kvy98xlJVW
— Nokia India (@NokiaIndia) December 15, 2013
…with the above image.
The price at launch is unknown, and could be as high as 45,000 INR, but hopefully Nokia will be pricing the handset a lot more competitively.
The Indian authorities have released their hold on Nokia’s manufacturing plants in the Chennai province after the company placed a large $367.17 million deposit into escrow.
The move will allow Nokia to finalize their deal with Microsoft and transfer their factories and other phone assets to the Seattle company.
The Indian authorities are still after Nokia however, with some claiming they owe the Indian tax authorities as much as $3.4 billion, including penalties for non-payment of tax and interest.
Reuters report that the Nokia’s case is one of several high-profile tax disputes involving foreign companies, with IBM, Royal Dutch Shell, Vodafone Plc and LG Electronics Inc. all being pursued.
In order to complete the deal with Microsoft without any hassles, Nokia India is planning to pay about $370 million in deposit to the court in the on going case between Nokia India and Indian Income Tax Department. If Nokia India was unable to transfer its Indian assets to Microsoft as part of the deal, then Nokia will allow Microsoft to use the factory under contract for one year. Since Nokia is selling the Devices and Services unit to Microsoft, Nokia’s factory in Chennai will be of no use for Nokia after the deal gets over and so Nokia might be finding other buyers for its factory or close it down completely.
On the other hand, workers of Nokia manufacturing unit in Chennai have moved to the Delhi High Court to safeguard their jobs as Nokia’s ongoing legal battle with the Income Tax department over its tax liabilities might lead to unemployment of over 8000 people. We will come to know about the final decisions on this issue over the course of this week.
It seems the Zauba site, which documents imports of handsets into India, is a gift which keeps on giving. The site recently revealed a new high end Samsung Windows Phone, and now it seems also to have uncovered a new low-end Nokia Lumia handset.
The site reveals that Nokia has imported the RM-977 from Finland for testing and evaluation. The device is a single-SIM handset with a 4.5 inch touch screen, which certainly places it out of the range of Nokia’s ASHA handsets, and the RM-977 designation does not correlate with any already announced handset.
The value of the device is pegged at 7,966 INR ($130) which suggests we are looking at a new low-end Windows Phone, and as NPU suggests, the real successor to the Nokia Lumia 520.
Such a handset may be announced at CES or Mobile World Congress, and would address the increasing trend towards larger screened handsets, even in low-end devices.
Via NPU, thanks Lochu for the tip.
The IDC has released some market share figures for India from Q3 2013.
The country’s small smartphone market grew by 229% Year on Year with a total of 12.8 million smartphones shipped.
The number also represents a 28% increase compared to Q2 2013.
Nokia has managed to maintain its share of the smartphone market from Q2 2013, when it also held 5%, or around 640,000 handsets sold, meaning its volume of sales has increased by the same proportion.
Despite the lack of growth the Indian market has shown some sign of evolution, with large international brands becoming more dominant, taking 30% of the smartphone market vs cheap local vendors such as Micromax and Karbonn.
"The growth in the smartphone market continues to drive the overall growth numbers for the phone market – given that there’s still a huge potential for smartphone penetration in India, this trend is expected to continue in the coming quarters", said Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.
On Nokia (and by extension Windows Phone) the IDC said:
The Lumia range of devices continued to show a growth trajectory in 3Q2013 and garnered close to 5% market share – the trend is expected to continue with greater support from Microsoft in the coming quarters. The third quarter of 2013 saw a few notable launches like the Lumia 625 and Lumia 925 which have
been able to generate positive interest from consumers and developers alike.
Read the full reports here.
MobiKwik mobile recharge and bill payment app is now available for both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 device users in Windows Phone Store. This app is specific to Indian market. You can MobiKwik to recharge prepaid and post-paid mobile devices, TV/DTH, data cards and pay bill payments for broadband/landline phones, electricity, gas and insurance.
- MobiKwik mobile recharge app for Windows Phone is small size, fast and light on your mobile phone CPU and bandwidth consumption
- Park money into your MobiKwik wallet and make simple, fast, hassle free payments without hopping between merchants, payment gateways, banks, then back, then back. Pay in one click!
- Lots of payment options including SBI (State Bank of India) , HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank. Whether you use credit card, debit card or netbanking we support them all. VISA, MASTERCARD, MAESTRO, DINERS & DISCOVER cards supported.
- Browse Plans of mobile operators like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, etc.
Download it here from Windows Phone Store for free. Find the supported list of services after the break.
The game which accompanies the hit Bollywood movie Dhoom 3 has zoomed past 1 million downloads in only 20 days, making it one of the fastest ‘Made in India’ games to hit the million mark.
‘Dhoom:3 The Game’ premiered exclusively on the Windows Phone Marketplace on the 25th October 2013, and subsequently on Nokia (Ovi) Store .
“We forecasted the game to reach 1 million downloads, but the speed at which it reached the mark was highly impressive. We are proud of the achievement and look forward to the launch on Android, iOS and BlackBerry 10 on 19th November,” said Rohit Sobti, Vice President of Yash Raj Films Licensing.
“Reaching 1 million downloads in such a short span of time is no doubt an extraordinary achievement,” said Rohith Bhat, CEO of 99Games Online Pvt. Ltd. “With thousands of games being released everyday, it becomes tough for any game to stand out in this crowded market. The performance of ‘Dhoom:3 The Game’ proves that no matter how difficult the market is, there is always great demand for well-crafted games.”
See the trailer after the break and find it in the Windows Phone Store here.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation have updated their Windows phone app.
The app, which lets users book train journeys and tickets, track train routes and get arrival and departure times for trains, now also offers to alert users of impeding journeys and receive live transaction notifications.
The updated free app can be found in the Windows Phone Store here.
With the Nokia Lumia 520 now well under 10,000 INR the handset is still proving very popular in India, topping the charts at Flipkart, the popular online marketplace.
The newly reduced Nokia Lumia 920, which is now selling for 25,999 INR ($420) has also brought the handset back into the top 10, showing that the venerable handset still remains very much in demand, with the only barrier being price.
Hopefully the news bodes well for Windows Phone’s Q4, with the OS having pretty high expectations to fill at present.
See the page at Flipkart here.
Thanks Arun for the tip.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the proposed Microsoft-Nokia deal where Microsoft will acquire Nokia’s devices and services division for $7.2 billion. CCI has also cited the reason that this deal “is not likely to have appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.” Also Microsoft is not into mobile hardware business at all and Nokia has a very minimal market share, so this deal will not have any impact in the market in a negative way.
The Hindu reported the following comment from CCI,
According to CCI, it is generally observed that D&S business of mobile/smartphones and tablets, along with the business of operating system and other applications that are used in the devices, is extremely dynamic. This, in turn, makes the product life cycles of such devices very short, it added.
Further, the regulator said that it is the ecosystem in this business which drives the demand between the users, application developers, and designers/manufacturers.
CCI noted that the vertical relationship between Microsoft and Nokia is “relatively insignificant” after taking into consideration the minimal share of Microsoft as well as the presence of major players like Google and Apple in the business of the operating software used in the smartphones and tablets in India.
Read more from the link below.
In an interview to Medianama, Vineet Durani, Director of Windows Phone business for Microsoft in India revealed that Microsoft is working to enable operator billing for Windows Phone Store in India. The hurdle which Microsoft faces with operator billing in India is that, Microsoft wants to maintain the 80/20 revenue share between developers and Microsoft. Operators should be ready to hand over 70-80% of the revenues to the developers and then take their share and taxes from the amount left.
“The telecom sector in India is over regulated and in case of operator billing there are several third parties and operators themself. However, we are very clear that whatever amount they take shouldn’t be at the expense of developers,”
He also revealed that Nokia is the only OEM which got operator billing right and Microsoft is planning to approach them to enable Operator billing for Windows Store.
During the interview, he also revealed some interesting stat about Windows Phone devices usage. About 90% of the Windows Phone devices sold are connected to internet as opposed to 50% in Android devices. I think this is a good news for Windows Phone platform as developers will have more confidence of usage of their apps in the platform with more connectivity.
Windows Phone currently has a marketshare of 5.5% in India according to Durani and has grown by 6 times in one year. However, the percentage of phones that are connected to the internet is 90% for Windows Phones as opposed to 50% in Android devices. He says that it gives developers an incentive to build for Windows devices.
Read the whole interview from the link below.
In an interview with Micromax co-founder, the Economic Times of India has revealed that the company, who is more successful that Nokia in India, is looking to release a Windows Phone next year.
Rahul Sharma told ET that the company was working on a Windows Phone right now for release in the middle of 2014.
The company, which had 22% of India’s smartphone market in Q2 2013, compared to Nokia’s 5%, is looking to expand to Russia and from there into Eastern Europe, and eventually UK and USA. He noted than in UK 50% of phones are now sold unlocked.
Micromax was also working on LTE handsets and planned to sell 50 million handsets in 2014.
Read more at the Electronic Times here.