Never heard that expression before? You might as well hear it from now on. Whenever you hear it again, you know you have heard it first here. There is a growing need to innovate and make a difference for the 200 odd mobile vendors in India. And they are not doing a light job of it. In the west, the popular notion for any particular problem is “Oh! There’s an app for that”. In India, neither smartphones are that ubiquitous nor are the apps that go with it. I know, you might be wondering what is this fella talking about. India is getting there, thanks mostly to Android but we still aren’t there yet. As far as smartphone apps go, India is a still a virgin market. And there is a price bracket associated with the smartphone. So how are people solving this problem? Not by building more apps but by building more phones.
If someone in the west gets an idea for a new app, someone in India will get an idea for a new phone model.
Music player, FM Radio, dual SIM’s, camera are the expected standard features in the most basic phones. If there is anything extra then that phone will be sold on that particular feature. Extended battery life or dual memory slots and so on are the other add on features, vendors try to cram in. Off late, this feature set is taken to a different level by targeting specific section of the crowd. Call it demographics or segmentation or whatever the fancy term is in your business jargon for this sort of thing but we are just getting started on it. And should I say we are pretty excited about it.
Here’s a collection of phones which were targeted at a section of crowd with specific needs. These phones might just cost a tad less than some of the apps out there.
Phone for ladies
HTC is trying to come up with a phone for ladies called HTC Bliss but I would give it to Micromax for coming out first. Micromax Bling is the first phone which is targeted at the ladies. Phone is no longer a phone with Bling it is a fashion statement. Ladies just love the flip or zap kind of phone and are not great fans of bar type phones. Micromax is a flip phone with swivel action, a square looking shape which is unlikely for a mobile phone and Swarovski studded buttons. Isn’t that a dream come true? And all of this at just Rs. 5000. It definitely and truly is a phone for ladies. They haven’t released Bling in pink. I am just saying.
And making a bar phone available in Pink doesn’t make it a ladies phone. Sorry, Nokia N8.
Phones for power cuts
This is a rage by now. “My phone has a torch and your iPhone doesn’t have a torch. I can buy a phone for at least 20 households in this village with the cost of your iPhone.” You are bound to get that kind of a comment if you go the hinterlands of India. A phone without a torch isn’t much of a phone. Phones with torch light are targeted at very specific customers and guess what, it is working. The phones are usually low priced and does the job. All the new entrants trying to place a product in that category will make sure that there is a phone with torch on it. Torch light apps are quite popular too.
Phone for outdoors
India’s rugged conditions and wicked weather need a suitable phone. Mobile phones till iBall floater were precious devices which have to protected like your own eye. iBall floater changed all that. Of course, this is only for people who have to deal with wet, dry and windy conditions all the time. This phone is water proof, drop proof and dust proof. The phone is built sturdily and we can vouch for it. When you drop this phone into water, it just floats back and guess what all it needs is a towel to get dry. We have tested it and that’s how we know it.
Phone for the elderly
A phone for elderly citizens, yet another demographic which was forgotten by many. iBall Aasaan has big buttons which are easy to read and press. It has a backlight display for pressing the buttons in the night. It also has a SOS button which calls 5 previously numbers continuously until someone picks up on the other end.
Phone for the blind
A logical extension to iBall Aasaan, this phone by Intex is targeted at blind people. This is a very significant demographic which is almost forgotten like it was years earlier, until Braile came along. This phone uses Braile concept and the SOS button concept and could just be a life saver for intended audience.
Phone for devotees
This just came in. T-Series Bhakti Sagar phone is a devotional phone which everyone were looking for. This phone comes loaded with Aartis, Bhajans and shabads in multiple languages.A total of 165 such programs are available in 9 languages. The phone costs Rs. 2999. This phone also has a SOS key, which I assume works just like any other SOS key we already have. One more gifting option just opened up. That’s ok. You can thank me later.
I had to put this one at the last because I am not quite sure about this market. I am not sure if people want to project with their mobile phones. Just in case they do, then we got just the phone for you. Obviously an app cannot solve the projection problem. There are actually four projector phones we compared and I am sure there are quite a few we might have missed. Is it really a demographic? Not sure. But I can tell you that, it is definitely a niche.
As you can see, all the phones mentioned are targeting a very niche segment. We can expect a lot more. What specific niche segment phones do you like to see? Leave your comments and someone out there might actually be working on it.