India, Manufacturers

How can Indian smartphone makers compete with global biggies?

By Naresh Keshavwar

india-smartphoneThe smartphone industry is one of the rapidly changing industries in the world. You blink and you have a new phone with some insane specifications or you see a new software update that makes you go ‘WOW.’

Till not so long ago, this space was largely dominated by a few global players. But in the last couple of years, we have seen a huge inflow of home-grown phone manufacturers, who have come out aggressively with their own devices packing decent features in affordable pricing.

I must admit that some of these Indian manufacturers have made a mark for themselves and have even managed to get their own fan-following. But that’s not the case with every phone manufacturer out there.

People still prefer global brands and don’t hesitate in paying a premium for the same. But, why?

1. Build Quality: This is one area where the Indian smartphone manufacturers lag behind the global players. Seriously, when you look at build quality of phones like HTC One X or Nokia Lumia phones, you can’t stop but keep staring at them. The industrial design, the finesse and the build quality offered by these devices is second to none.

But, same is not true for the home-grown manufacturers. If we look back at the devices launched by Indian manufacturers, they just can’t stand next to these devices. The so-so build quality, the plasticy feel – it stays with you.  I know the price point at which these devices are available and we can’t expect them to compete with One X or Lumia but a better build quality for some extra bucks won’t break the deal either.

In the recent months, we have seen some positive change. Phones like Micromax A116 Canvas HD or XOLO A1000 are decently built and feel premium in hand. Fine tune them a little more and you are almost there.

2. Software Updates: “Once you buy it, you are on your own,” that seems to be the mantra of Indian mobile companies.

If you have bought a smartphone from one of the local manufacturers, you are out of luck with the S/W updates. If your new smartphone runs on an older version of Android, rest assured that it will remain on the same forever.

This is certainly one area which the Indian manufacturers have completely neglected. It’s not the case with the budget smartphones only. Consumers buying a smartphone at INR 6-7k price range might not be worried about S/W updated, but someone, who is spending around INR 10-15k, will definitely want a decent software update support.

For Example: A pretty popular smartphone like Micromax A110 Canvas 2, which was one of the bestselling smartphones from Micromax last year, still runs on Android 4.0 ICS. I think this attitude is not going to help any of these companies. A lot needs to be done in this area.

3. Service Centres: The first thing that comes to mind when buying any new electronic device is the after sales service and the service centre availability. This is one more area where the Indian manufacturers lag way behind. People still prefer a Nokia/Samsung just because they are sure that they will find a service centre of these manufacturers in every corner of the country.

Unfortunately, same is not the case with the Indian manufacturers. Apart from one or two, most of the companies do not have service centres pan-India or a decent on-call support. If the Indian manufacturer want to get in the league of top cellphone makers, such things need to be sorted-out on the priority basis.

4. Brand value: The one thing that separates the home-grown manufacturers from the multinational is the brand value that the biggies bring with them. There are a lot of consumers, who buy a high-end device just because it is from a particular brand. They are very “badge” conscious and want to get the latest and the greatest.

Such devices surely grab a lot of eye-balls compared to the devices launched by the local manufacturers. But, a good brand building strategy and lots of good and innovative marketing campaigns can make surely help the Indian companies and then – Rome was not built in a day, as keep doing good and consumers will surely recognise the work.

What are your thoughts on the matter, please drop in comments.

Image credit: Mint

This is a guest post by Naresh Keshavwar, who is a technology enthusiast and loves to follow the latest happening in the smartphone world with a keen eye.

8 thoughts on “How can Indian smartphone makers compete with global biggies?

  1. The problem of homegrown brands is that there build quality is so cheap, and in phones they are using mediatek processors regularly. Instead of some home grown mobile companies in China prefers quallcomm instead of mediatek, that’s the main problem with them

    1. How can they, put quality and battery saver chipsets like Qualcomm on their decently priced smartphones? that’s why they choose MediaTek.

      And Naresh, I would like to add few more points over here.

      These Indian smartphone makers, come up with a huge battery inside of their devices like, 2000mAh and more but, still they are incapable to last longer. For eg. A116 HD by Micromax comes with same size battery, and lasts only 5 hours when you’re on a call. On the other hand for eg, pick up any other big makers like Nokia, they’ve put a mere 1300 mAh battery on Lumia 620 and look that smartphone can still lasts up to 14.5 hours on calls over 2G.

      Similarly, they don’t know how to properly harness the power of hardware they’ve used. For eg, in case of Micromax A116 HD, they’ve used a so-called Quad-core chipset by MediaTek with 4 cores of ARM Cortex A7 processors and a neat PowerVR GPU, along with 1 GB of RAM, and comes with 8 MP of rear camera lens. That’s just enough of raw power required to capture a Full HD video, but still it can only shoot HD videos. Why Micromax? And yes, the front camera with 2 MP lens can also capture HD videos but again, it’s supplied only with VGA video record only. And top of all their, punch line for this particular model is “Expectations CAN be bigger!”

      So, now you can clearly see the line of difference between, properly using the resources and un-necessarily putting up extra resources, just for the sake of touting!

      Though, I am impressed with their efforts in gaining impressive market share in presence of bigger mobile giants like Samsung and Nokia, but please “you can’t lead them, until you tremendously improve the build quality, performance, and after sales support of your devices.”

  2. can u tell me a device name which actually is build in india
    example mmx a116.this device is being sold in Pakistan with the help of a local brand name.
    can a same phone sales with two brand name.
    don’t u think all the crapps is coming from china…

  3. This is really great to presence in Indian Mobile market. Separates manufacturers from the multinational brand value its good for any brand.

  4. I own Samsung Galaxy Advance phone. I bought this nearly 8 months ago. A powerful phone running GB. No news of getting updates. Why blame local companies alone?

  5. Homegrown companies are improving. e.g. micromax canvas 2 phones are getting the Jellybean updates now.

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