India

India

Samsung is losing ground fast against Chinese brands in India

Consumers are getting more and more price conscious when buying smartphones, especially in India. Although Samsung still holds the number one spot in terms of sales in the country, its market share is decreasing.

According to a report from the technology research company Counterpoint, Samsung is losing the battle against low-cost Chinese brands in India. The tech giant’s market share was 21 percent back in November 2016 — latest data available — which is 9 percentage points less when compared with roughly the same period in 2015.

Meanwhile, the market share of Chinese brands including Lenovo, OnePlus, Gionee and Xiaomi has grown quite substantially. Counterpoint reports that these companies have a combined market share of 50 percent in India, compared to just 19 percent a year ago.

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What’s more, in the $120 to $440 smartphone segment, Chinese smartphone manufacturers have more than doubled their presence in India with a 68 percent market share. Samsung’s market share, on the other hand, decreased by 14 percentage points since November 2015 in this segment.

Brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and others have become popular among Indian consumers as they offer a better price-performance ratio than big industry names such as Samsung. If this trend will continue well into the future, Samsung will probably have to lower its prices to stay competitive in the Indian market.

But Samsung isn’t the only brand that’s taking a beating. Indian manufacturers like Micromax, Lava, and Karbonn are also experiencing problems as their total market share has dropped down from 40 to less than 20 percent in a single year.

Moto is hosting an event in India for developers to shape the future of modularity

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Last year, Moto launched the Moto Mods along with Moto Z. The Moto Mods transform your smartphone in a snap, turning your phone into a camera with optical zoom, a movie projector, a boombox and more.

Moto plans to share the Moto Mods Development Kit (MDK) allowing people everywhere to contribute to the ecosystem by bringing their own Moto Mods to life. The company wants to empower developers to dream, build, and fund their own Moto Mods. The company is hosting ‘Moto Collide’, an event in Bengaluru on January 25, where it will introduce new opportunities to help developers get involved.

 

The event is focussed on both one-person startups as well as experienced development firms who can their great ideas and interact with different partners across hardware, software, manufacturing, and product development teams to realize them into a global product opportunity. Moto has also partnered with Lenovo Capital who will invest up to $1 million for selected products.

Head to motocollide.com to register, and the Moto team will get back to you on your qualification status within five business days.

OnePlus opens its first Experience Store in India

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OnePlus inaugurated its first ever Experience Store in India today in Bengaluru. The first-of-its-kind retail store in India will be a one-stop destination to experience the complete range of OnePlus products as well as will host a slew of unique engagement activities on an on-going basis to provide a differentiated experience to customers.

The OnePlus Experience Store will provide customers an immersive experience of the company’s products including smartphones, accessories, and lifestyle merchandise. Spread over 14,000 sq. ft., it is one of the biggest stores on the popular, high-street retail hub of the city, and is spread over four zones with an independent service center in the basement, a retail cum community zone on the ground and mezzanine floors, office space on the upper floors, and a café cum lounge area on the rooftop.

OnePlus opens its first Experience Store in India

The centre will also support the local technology and startup ecosystem through a series of initiatives including hosting regular focus-group workshops and knowledge sessions in partnership with related industry experts from leading technology companies and industry bodies.

At OnePlus, we are committed to making superior technology and quality products accessible to our users. We are pleased to launch our first ever experience store in India, one of our most important markets, and dedicate it to the OnePlus community who is the core of our very existence. It is for this very community that the store was designed, to deliver a personalised experience, while allowing them to try and test complete range of our products before making a purchase.

– Vikas Agarwal, General Manager – India, OnePlus

According to the company, the Experience Store complements its online-only business model by providing an offline destination to their users to experience the products before concluding the purchase on Amazon, the exclusive sales partner, or their own e-commerce store, OnePlusStore.in.

Google’s CEO wants to see smartphones priced as low as $30 in India

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Google clearly wants to sell more Android smartphones in India, one of the biggest and fastest growing markets for such devices. Today, India-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated today he would like to see smartphones in the country priced as low as $30 (Rs. 2000).

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NDTV reports that Pichai made the remarks during an address at his alma mater IIT-Kharagpur. He stated he would “love to see cheaper smartphones, entry-level smartphones” and that he would like to see prices for those kinds of phones go down to $30, or about Rs. 2,000.

Google has been trying to encourage smartphone makers to launch more affordable handsets through its Android One platform for the past couple of years, but so far it has met with mixed results. We have seen smartphones sold in India for prices similar to what Pichai would like to see, although their quality is not exactly high.

We have also seen one case where a company tried to sell a smartphone for as low as $4 in India. However, that business, Ringing Bells, has since announced it has only shipped 70,000 units of that device so far, well below the company’s previous prediction of 2.5 million units. It will be interesting to see if smartphone makers can create entry-level devices that are both priced at $30 and also offer decent hardware and performance specs.

Honor 5C Android 7.0 Nougat beta program begins in India

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Honor has introduced an Android 7.0 Nougat beta program for the Honor 5C in India. The new venture will provide select users with access to early versions of the Android Nougat software ahead of its official release.

The beta will launch in two stages, the first will feature 50 participants and the second, with 100 members, will follow at a later date. Those who take part should have an Honor 5C with a model number beginning NEM-L22 and should be on hand for at least two hours per day to report on the software.

Honor says that as well as getting early access to N0ugat, beta testers will have a chance to receive both “special rewards based on their performance in beta program” and “special invitations for fan meet-ups and new product launches”. The beta testers will be judged based on the number of valid bugs they report.

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Below is the beta eligibility criteria straight from Honor:

1. Should own Honor 5C device.
2. Should actively participate and support other Honor fans and Moderator(s).
3. Should spare at least 2 hours daily for testing and reporting issues.
4. Should be ready to share personal details such as Contact number, IMEI and email id for us to support better.

For more information, and to register for your chance to take part, head over to the Honor website.

Google Primer app is part of the company’s Digital Unlocked initiative to empower SMBs in India

At the Digital Unlocked event in New Delhi today, Sundar Pichai announced the launch of Primer, a free mobile app designed to teach digital marketing skills.

Primer is a fast, easy way to learn new marketing skills with short, bite-sized lessons that you can take wherever and whenever you have 5 minutes free. The app also works offline.

The app has been available on the Google Play Store and App Store since a while, however, the latest update brings support for Hindi language with Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi versions coming shortly.

Once you’ve installed Primer, you can start taking lessons in advertising, content, measurement, and strategy. The app adds new topics and lessons every week, and each lesson ends with personalized next steps that are automatically saved for you.

Google Primer app is part of the company’s Digital Unlocked initiative to empower SMBs in India

Primer is part of the Digital Unlocked initiative by Google that aims to digitally empower India’s Small and Medium Business (SMB) community.

The Internet and digital technology will be an engine of growth for the Indian economy. Today, anyone can become an entrepreneur, a developer, or a creator, but it is important that they have the right tools and skills to digitize. We believe it is important for us to invest in training and equipping these individuals and small businesses to accelerate their journey of growth.

– Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google

The training program will be delivered via online, offline, and mobile modes to empower thousands of Indian SMBs with essential digital skills that will enable them to get online and start using the power of the internet to grow their business.

Download Google Primer from Google Play Store

The first OnePlus Experience Store to open on January 7 in Bengaluru

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Rajat Agrawal

OnePlus is currently selling its products exclusively on Amazon in India. In hopes of increasing sales, the company is now expanding into the offline market. OnePlus has announced that its first ‘Experience Store’ will open in Bengaluru on January 7, at 2:00 PM. This will give consumers a chance to test out the popular OnePlus 3T as well as other products before deciding to make a purchase.

OnePlus said that it’s preparing quite a few surprises for people who will visit their store on Saturday. According to the company’s announcement post, you’ll be able to win prizes and also meet the founders of the company, Pete Lau and Carl Pei. In addition, OnePlus will offer a few exclusive launch-day offers at the store but, unfortunately, the company did not specify exactly what these deals might be.

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If the first Experience Store turns out to be a success, we expect that the Chinese manufacturer will open a few more in the near future. Expanding into the offline market in India is a good idea and will surely boost the company’s sales, as a lot of consumers still want to test out a device they are interested in before buying it.

Would you visit a OnePlus retail store if it would open in your city? Let us know down below.

Amazon starts letting users sell their old stuff in Bangalore, India

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It looks like Amazon may be planning to go toe-to-toe with one of its biggest rivals, eBay – well in India at least. The online retailer has started a pilot program in Bangalore, India called “Sell as Individual”, that allows people to sell their old products via their website.

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Amazon starts letting users sell their old stuff in Bangalore, India

The program not only allows people to sell their used products on Amazon, but the retailer will even package and pick up the items after they are sold. Of course, they will also deliver those goods to the people that have bought those products.

Amazon is naturally going to get a cut of those sales. The pilot program will charge Rs 10 (15 cents) for every item they sell below Rs 1,000 ($15). It will take Rs 50 (75 cents) for every item sold between 1,000 to Rs 5,000 ($75). Finally, it will take Rs 100 ($1.5) if each item cost over Rs 5,000.

It looks like Amazon is going to start very slowly with this new program, but if it is successful, it’s likely that the retailer could expand it to more markets. If that happens, eBay could be in trouble, especially with the retailer’s offer of taking out the burden of packaging and sending out the items. If the “Sell as Individual” program expands, would you use it instead of eBay?

Vivo announces Vivo V5 Plus with dual front-facing cameras

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Vivo has announced the V5 Plus, a new handset which features dual front-facing cameras, heading to India on January 23. Vivo broke the news via a press invitation which said “Block your date for the biggest selfie camera revolution.”

The V5 Plus is expected to be an improved version of the V5, which launched in India in November 2016 for Rs 17,980 (around $264). That device featured a 5.5-inch HD display, 1.5 GHz octa-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 3,000 mAh battery.

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The V5 was also noteworthy for its camera setup, housing a 13 MP rear camera and 20 MP front-facing camera (rear cameras typically have the higher resolution). It appears that Vivo is now going to even greater lengths to deliver on the quality of selfies, but we don’t yet know in which other ways — if any — the V5 Plus will improve upon the V5. Given the proximity of the handsets’ launches, there could be very few differences.

You can read our thoughts on the previous handset in our hands-on Vivo V5 review and look out for more Vivo V5 Plus coverage in the coming weeks.

Airtel and Vodafone carrier billing goes live on Google Play Store in India

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Looks like carrier billing for Airtel and Vodafone is going live in India for Google Play Store. Google had officially announced the partnership at the Google Playtime event in India in October, but didn’t share any timeline. In May this year, Google had announced carrier billing with Idea Cellular, although the service wasn’t rolled out immediately.

Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) allows you to buy apps, music, books, and movies from the Google Play Store while the cost is reflected in your postpaid mobile bill or taken off your prepaid balance.

Airtel and Vodafone carrier billing goes live on Google Play Store in India

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the roll-out has been underway since last few days, but I can confirm now that it is working for me. I just set it up, and made the first purchase. You can set up carrier billing under the ‘Add a new payment’ option. It was seamless, really. To use the integrated billing system, each time you need to make a purchase, simply choose ‘Bill my Airtel Account’ on the payment method prompt.

Interestingly, Microsoft was the first to enable carrier billing in India. Idea Cellular had enabled carrier billing on Windows Store in December 2014.

Is carrier billing working for you on the Google Play Store? Tell us in the comments, and share which carrier are you on.