1. 2014 Product Party

2014 Product Party

If e-commerce changed the way India bought, here’s what had the market (and marketplaces) buzzing in 2014

Published: December 28, 2014 12:16 AM

Apple woke up late to large screens, but when it did, wow! With the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 6-inch iPhone 6Plus, Apple has silenced the competition. A host of new features thrown in, it’s the phone the world is queueing up to buy. Priced in India at about R50,000 and R60,000 onwards, respectively.

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Tablets sold better than PCs this year, following up on last year’s growth. Most of them were Androids, though the iPad remained the strongest single brand. Samsung and Apple carried on their bitter rivalry with its Galaxy Tabs and the iPad Airs and Minis this year too.

Realistic has achieved serious tones, at least for TV makers. LG and Samsung kicked off the new craze this year in television viewing with curved screens. From 55 inches and a couple of lakh rupees onwards, this is a movie that seems to have no end.

Wait and watch
If 2013 was the kick-off year for wearable computing devices—most of the attention going towards Google Glass—2014 was all about smart watches. Early-riser Samsung dominated the market with five wearable devices for the wrist, then came Motorola’s hotly-anticipated Moto 360, besides offerings from Sony and LG. Apple is late to the party, but nevertheless has everyone’s eyes and ears on the soon-to-be-launched iWatch.

Bend it like laptops
It’s not enough anymore for a laptop to be, well, just portable. Nowadays, they have to be small, light, quick and even bendable—so that they can be variously put to use as laptops, tablets or stand-up monitors. The trend with notebooks is clearly in the direction of a hybrid device; so 2014 saw products that could be ‘converted’ to four different modes (like Lenovo’s Yoga series) and ones that could survive even in harsh conditions (like the Latitude Rugged Extreme laptops from Dell).

‘Fry’ away
The tag of healthy eating or oil-free can sell anything these days. Like air fryers. What these sexy little gadgets do is basically cook food with hot air or dry heat. A small-time dehydrator, if you so please. One question, though. With microwaves and OTGs pretty much capable of delivering the same results, did you really need that air fryer? But then, why be the outsider in the conversation when everyone is going ooh and aah over non-fried French Fries?

Size matters
The first ‘phablet’—a portmanteau of ‘phone’ and ‘tablet’—to really garner any attention (and ridicule) was the Samsung Galaxy Note. Many had speculated that the Note was so large that it could never make it past its niche market, which was eventually proved wrong. The Galaxy Note, now in its fourth generation, is still considered one of the most highly anticipated annual releases in the smartphone industry—and 2014 was no exception. Giving it company now are several others from the likes of Sony to Nokia aka Microsoft, or even Huawei.

Driving aspiration
If luxury ever became affordable, the Audi A3 is the answer to every car lover’s dreams. Priced at a mere around R30 lakh, the A3 is selling like hot cakes, hitting sales of not only luxury cars, but segment-size bigger cars such as Toyota Camry and Skoda Superb too since it was launched in August. Aspiration, that’s what drives India!

Pocket Hercules
2014 gave Indians the power to own a Harley, thanks to the pocket-sized, pocket-friendly Street 750. Launched at the Auto Expo this year, the Street 750 has a powerful engine to conquer city roads and, for R4.3 lakh, is the easiest way to enter the Harley family. It is also the first Harley-Davidson to be made in India. Loyalists, though, have not really appreciated this ‘small’ avatar as they feel it may dilute the brand value of the iconic American.

Small is big
Value for money is what every Indian buyer looks for. When it comes to cars, we want the moon. Hyundai’s Elite i20 is somewhat close. Its bold styling and affordable price makes you ask: do you need that compact sedan or a compact SUV when you can have a premium small car that is surprisingly big on space and high on luxury?

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