High-end smart phone market to get hotter in 2009

Written by Rachana Khanzode | Nikita Upadhyay | Nikita Upadhyay | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 14 2009, 03:54am hrs
The competition in the Indian smart phone market is expected to get hotter in the months to come. The introduction of Apple iPhone and LG's smart phone, along with new models from Nokia and Blackberry, has brought about some excitement in the market. According to IDC, the total converged device shipment in Q3 2008 was approximately 1 million, about 4% of the total shipment as compared to 5.5% last year in the same quarter.

However, analysts opined that the touch-screen converged devices category in India is expected to become more competitive and see higher volumes in 2009.

During the year, players like Nokia, LG and HTC can be expected to expand their offerings with the launch of new, feature-rich models and we expect this will bring more fire in the market," opined Naveen Mishra, manager, communications research, IDC India.

The latest entrant in the segment is BlackBerry's Storm, especially designed for Vodafone Essar. Harit Nagpal, marketing and new business director, Vodafone Essar, said, "We are targeting the enterprise market segment and don't see any slowdown impact there. In the US, we are selling one unit of this model in every 13 seconds. We feel that India too offers a huge market." Nokia launched its 5800 XpressMusic phone in the country last week.

For vendors, the market is equally bullish. They believe that new launches from Nokia and BlackBerry will change market metrics. "There is a huge market for high-end touch screen phones despite the slowdown. People are buying the same models in the grey market for almost double the prices. With the official launch, we will see sales going up," stated a vendor. In spite of a 15-20% increase in the prices of mobile phones in the last one month, there has been no impact on sales, he noted.