Low-cost tablet maker Datawind on Friday entered the smartphones market, two of which are priced below Rs 5,000.

Called PocketSurfer smartphones, some of the specification of the devices include five-inch screens, dual SIM and have Linux and Google Android operating systems (OS).

The Aakash tablet maker has launched three models – PocketSurfer 5x, PocketSurfer 5 and PocketSurfer 3GS – priced at Rs 3,499, Rs 4,999 and Rs 6,499 respectively.

“This is an important addition to our portfolio and after the low cost tablets, we wanted to supplement them with low cost smartphones. These are all dual SIM smartphones and we are targeting customers at the income group of around Rs 10,000 per month,” Suneet Singh Tuli, Chief Executive Officer, Datawind, told Business Line.

He said to begin with the company will sell these devices through its website and will start selling through retail chains by the end of this month. The initial target is to sell around 2,500-3,000 units a day, he said.

“Our primary focus is to bridge the digital divide and deliver an affordable means of accessing the Internet. Globally the massive shift from feature phones to smartphones is being driven by the appetite to get on the Internet. We want to be the enabler,” Tuli said.

While the company will import the products from China, some of the components like touch screen panels will be assembled in its factory at Amritsar, he said.

Asked about competition in the market, where already many players are struggling to make a mark, Tuli said that others have products priced above Rs 5,000 and also small-screen size (less than 5-inch) around that price.

“We know the smartphones market is much bigger than the tablets market, but with such pricing and features, we hope to do well,” Tuli added.

According to market intelligence and advisory services provider International Data Corporation (IDC), the smartphone growth is driven by lower priced models in the Indian mobile market during the third quarter of this year.

In its latest report, it said that the India smartphone market grew by 229 per cent year over year in the third quarter of this year. A total of 12.8 million smartphones were imported in the third quarter as compared to 3.8 million units in the same period of 2012.

The 5-inch to 6.99-inch screen size smartphones (phablets) continued to show sustained growth in the third quarter, it said.

“Given that there’s still a huge potential for smartphone penetration in India, this trend is expected to continue in the coming quarters,” Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst at IDC India said.

According to the report, Samsung ranks first in the category with 33 per cent market share, followed by Micromax and Karbonn with 17 per cent and 11 per cent market shares respectively.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 13, 2013)
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