Tech blog

Smart phones surge ahead

Globally smartphones (SP) are a rising force and 2011 saw India falling in line with this trend. According to data released by Convergence Catalyst, an analyst firm, a little short of 10 million SPs were sold in 2011 and October alone, the best month of the year, saw customers lapping up a million devices. The key event of the year was SPs breaching the sub-100 dollar barrier.

Nokia continues to lead the SP segment but the crown rests uneasy. In the first half of 2011 Nokia had nearly 60 % of market share, which dipped to below 40 % in the second half. Its loss was Samsung's gain, which is riding on the Android wave besides pushing its own operating system (OS), Bada.

The clear winner in the Indian market is Android, which grew faster than Nokia’s Symbian in the latter months of 2011. A wide range of devices spread between affordable to premium price points were key to its success. Market share of different OS in 2011: Symbian (46.6 %), Android (28.2 %), Blackberry (13.3 %), Bada (8.3 %), iOs (2.4 %) and Windows Mobile (1.2 %).

2012 is expected to be the year of Android, which is expected capture over 50 % of the market. The Symbian, while declining drastically globally, may hold on to a 23.3 % share, thanks to its traditional but fast dissipating base in the country.

Symbian S60 devices will cover the low and mid end devices. Symbian Belle and Windows Phone will run the high end devices. Windows Phone, which will be available only in high-end devices in 2012, will have a limited impact.

SPs will continue to sell strong in 2012. Their sales will grow by 100 %, doubling to 18 to 20 million devices, again thanks to multiple handset brands and strong marketing push. Twelve to fourteen per cent of total mobile handset sales in 2012 will be SPs and Samsung is expected to lead the market. Handset sales in the sub $167 (Rs 10,000) will boom and Indian OEMs, who largely missed the party in 2011, are expected to join in 2012. Their entry in this segment will give a push to dual-SIM SPs, which are already in the making. 

Samsung's Galaxy Pro Duos and Wave Y Duos already sport dual-SIMs; its more popular devices such as Galaxy Y and S II will also soon have dual-SIMs. High-end SPs which can support both GSM and CDMA would also appear.

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