Not for a lack of trying, it has been hard to get away from India in recent posts. It is very hard to ignore a country that added over 51 million new mobile phone subscribers quarter ending on June 30.
Previous posts have delved into the state of e-commerce and upcoming 3G roll-outs across the country. These developments on their own are quite impressive. Even more impressive are the tie-ups that allow for the innovative delivery of services through this new platform.
One such example is the recent announcement of a joint venture between Aircel, a telecom, and the Apollo Hospitals, world renown for their delivery of low-cost healthcare. Through the ‘Aircel Apollo Mobile HealthCare’ service, users can get medical consultation over video phone for Rs 45 (approx US $1).
A crucial stumbling block to these possibilities remains the high-price for 3G smart-phones. To address this, Google is helping Indian handset manufacturers build smartphones that run Android for the sub-$100 market:
emerging [Indian] vendors represented more than one-third of total Indian phone shipments in the three months ending June 2010, up from less than 1% of shipments about two years earlier. Nokia dipped from 56.2% market share to 36.3% over roughly the same period.
In under two years, Indian phone manufacturers have made dramatic gains. Micromax offers 34 models of phones priced under USD 30, a price at which Indian users enjoy features such as cameras and basic data. Such developments highlight how how Indian phone makers have managed to take valuable market share from larger players like Nokia.
Another manufacturer, Spice Mobile already has released a $220 Android smart phone. When contacted for the Wall Street Journal article, Motorola, Spice Mobile, HTC, and Samsung were unwilling to comment on their plans for low-cost Android devices. Undoubtedly, the sub-$100 smart phone is central to all manufacturers keeping their foothold in the Indian marketplace.