Android’s next destination is India

Nokia thinks majority of new entrants will be a passing phenomenon. There are few companies which will not be. Micromax, Spice Mobile and Olive Telecom are the three companies to watch out for. Google is vouching for them. As the mobile handset market colludes with the tablet PC market to create a big bang, the Indian upstarts are bringing out more models than anticipated at cut-throat prices. Most of their new products are touch screen smart phones with 3G capabilities. Most of them will be running Android.

Google is pushing the Indian handset makers to come up with inexpensive hardware and run its Android operating system. Android and the Indian handset makers together are looking at a 500 million mobile uses. Actually, it’s 500 more mobile users. As per iSuppli that’s the potential market opportunity. By 2014 India’s tele-density will reach 97%. India adds an average of 18 million mobile subscribers per month.  With simple math that’s a total of 648 million mobile users if we take the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 alone. How plausible is this?

iSuppli’s projection :


3G network :

If it wasn’t for the delay in the 3G auction then India would be seeing the mobile revolution by now. And Google would have been pushing Android in India before anywhere else in the world. But that’s history and we got the 3G spectrum. DoCoMO became the first operator to announce the launch date. Airtel had shown similar intentions. Aircel will launch in early 2011. Other operators who have the spectrum license will follow suit. By March 2011, almost all the operators will launch. Quite a big number and all they will be looking at is cheap smart phones which are 3G enabled. Google is looking at the opportunity. And that opportunity mind you is pretty big. And it can only be found in India or China.

Android and cheap smart phones :

Android phones are available in India but they are in the 10k-15 k range. That targets a specific demographic. If we go below the 10K range the demographics are really favorable. Spice Mobile has 2 Android phones in the sub 10k range. Spice’s Mi-300 costs Rs. 9900. Micromax is all set for a Diwali launch for its Android phone. The price is estimated to be less than Rs. 10,000. Google is pushing these handset makers to include Bollywood songs on these phones to increase sales. It’s a win-win for Google and the Indian handset makers. It’s not just the smart phones which will drive Android but the tablets too. Olivepad, Binatone Home Surf  and Spice Mobile’s Mi-700 are the three tablets which are running Android and are affordable.

HTC and Samsung posted strong growth previous quarter because of the uber-popular Android operating system. HTC jumped 63% and Samsung 55% in sequential growth, thanks to Android. The devices which run Android are winners. Micromax, Spice and Olive want to bring that to India and go further down the price pyramid. A proven winning strategy by now.


Social networking

India has 670 million mobile users at the end of September 2010. Of which 210 million mobile users have accessed data service aka the Internet. The mobile social networking users in India will reach 72 million by 2014. India currently has 33 million social networking users, including mobile users. Look at the surge of the subscribers to data services from Dec 2009 to Jun 2010. More than 60 million new subscribers were added in 6 months. This is in spite of the limited apps available on the existing platforms.


If we look at it, this is a triple convergence. The 3G network availability, availability of cheap operating system, phones and the social networking – which will lead to the predicted explosive growth.

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