The key to succeed with the Indian consumer in the
hyper competitive smartphone market, according to the former CEO of Apple Computer John Sculley, is to culturally connect with the young people and bundle the offerings as per their usage. Even more important, it is fashion and not technology that is driving the consumer preference. In short, phones need to be technologically superior as well as be stylish and beautiful.
Sculley, whose mobile phone venture Obi Mobiles is the latest to foray into the Indian smartphone market, has debuted two stylish devices—Octopus S520 and Wolverine S501—in the mid-range segment. I have been using the two devices for the past few days and believe me, they’ll grow on you. Once you get your hands on either of them, you’ll be impressed with their performance, build quality and great battery life. We’ll talk about them later, first it is pertinent to catch up with the latest in the smartphone segment.
Smartphone market in India, says IDC, has maintained its growth impetus with shipments touching year-on-year growth of 84% in Q2 2014 and a quarterly growth of 11%. The potential for growth in the smartphone market is quite high as 71% of the market continues to be on feature phones. Vendors shipped a total of 18.42 million smartphones in Q2 2014 compared to 10.02 million in the same period of 2013. The sub $200 category of the smartphone market is increasing in terms of the shipment share as the contribution from this category stood at 81% in Q2 2014. With the influx of Chinese vendors and Mozilla’s plans to enter the smartphone category at $50 level, the low-end segment of the smartphone market will become crucial in the coming quarters.
Back to the Obi devices. From a marketing point of view, the company appears to have deciphered the winning formula to succeed here—its mobile phones are stylish, beautiful and carry affordable price tags. They are supported by country wide network of over 95 service centres for after sales support. Can they succeed with the customer here, that too in an overcrowded market, let us find out.
The Octopus S520 is the flagship smartphone from Obi Mobiles. It is available initially for purchase through Snapdeal at Rs 11,990. The device is also one of the tougher-feeling mid-range phones. It packs high-performing hardware and multitasking capabilities in a sleek metallic design powered by a 1.7 GHz Octa