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technology notes… mobile and embedded.

Mobile fast-food ..thoughts on the new mobile phone making.

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I got chance to attend a recent gathering of several OEMs shipping phones to India.
The Qualcomm Partner Summit  is an annual event by home_09Qualcomm India. Apart from the marketing buzz, it also showcases the wares from many OEMs who plan to launch mobile devices in India and a good indication of what is in store for the next year in the mobile phone landscape.

A clear phenomenon you could see is arrival of several Chinese OEMs and ODMs in that market. Their growth has been phenomenal in past few years and they are already making good inroads into the market share of market leader Nokia . Until 2010 the small time OEMs were only  competing at the feature phone space but with Android the dynamics are going to change dramatically.

Chinese OEMs Indian Distributors: The Chinese OEMs do not have a brand presence in India .Their main customers  are ‘Distributors’ .Companies that make bulk orders of these devices and sell with their own brand name.

Unlike the OEMs ,the distributors do not involve in engineering or the manufacturing , they just give the requirements and book orders and there are mobile phone shops in China that can churn out models based on your need much like ordering breakfast at a Subway joint.

Some of the prominent distributors in India are Micromax and Lawa .And this list is growing rapidly.

Welcome Android : The high end(Tier1) OEMs like Nokia and Samsung still had an edge on the software that had been tested for good  usability, and had passed several rounds of QA.
There was lot of investment on  the Software platforms that was keeping  away the small time OEMs entering the premium segment like the smartphone.

With the advent of Android this is all set to change. Google’s Android platform comes for free and OEMs could churn out  a decent smart phone will all of ‘Android goodies’.  This was pretty evident in the summit I had attended.

HTCDesire_Lookalike There was  HTC-Desire  and few feet away there is an  exact replica by another less known  OEM.  Needless to say each OEM had their own version of an iPhone clone and an iPad clone.

So with Android , the Tier2 OEMs are not just going to be in Feature phones, they are going to come into smart phones  and even some iPad clones. Although there hasn’t been initial success with the integration , they have managed to bring down the Android smart phone price drastically in India.

It may be difficult for the Tier1 OEMs in the long run. For now they are able to maintain a lead by keeping their premium segment intact and also with some exclusive partnership deals with Google and Microsoft.

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Written by sujai

May 9, 2011 at 8:34 am

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