Indeed Nokia has sold only 5 million Asha full touch smartphones during the quarter, registering a 46% decline QoQ. CEO Stephen Elop noted that Asha Full Touch smartphone series is currently into its 9 month, and that Nokia would “in the very near term” refresh the product line. See: Nokia: Continued moderate progress with Lumia, urgent Asha Touch refresh and new innovations to come against the onslaught of unbranded Android and forked Android players in China and India [‘Experiencing the Cloud, April 18, 2013]
Remark: The above ones were The Hottest Selling Handsets in India Below Rs 5000 [$92] [Gizbot, April 19, 2013]. Their prices are as of April 28, 2013. They are only 2.75G but with dual SIM support. The Micromax Bolt A35 is using the Spreadtrum SC6820 SoC for which it was already indicated that:
– $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15 [‘Experiencing the Cloud, Nov 9, 2012]
– Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets [‘Experiencing the Cloud, July 26 – Aug 16, 2012]
– World’s lowest cost, US$40-50 Android smartphones — sub-$100 retail — are enabled by Spreadtrum [‘Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 11, 2011 – Feb 27, 2012]
Note that the XMM 2250m is the latest incarnation of the XMM 2250 SoC from Infineon (now Intel).
Note, however, that the upcoming “in the very near term” refresh of the Asha Full Touch product line will continue with Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion” based on software and web optimization with super low-cost 2.5/2.75G SoCs [‘Experiencing the Cloud, Feb 14 – April 23, 2012] which was well proven in H2’12 as seen on the above diagram. As described in the post its software optimization is based on the unique Smarterphone end-to-end software solution for “the next billion” Nokia users [‘Experiencing the Cloud, Jan 9-11, 2012], while its web optimization on an even more unique browser technology which “reduces data consumption by up to 90%”.
In fact Nokia “just” needs to improve its value proposition against the entry level Android phones of the local brands (like Micromax and Karbonn) because its stance against the competing Samsung REX model is not bad at all (and the optimisations were even not taken into the account):
Nokia Asha 305 “6” vs “5” Samsung Rex 70 S3802 [MoreCellPhone, March 11, 2013]
And the Mobile Phone chosen is…
The choice of the MoreCellPhone is Nokia Asha 305
18 Items in common between the devices
More internal storage for photos and files
10MB user available
More external storage with the use of memory cards
This device has a TFT LCD screen, which are brighter and more vivid
More colors on the screen is better quality images and videos
Higher resolution camera
2 MegaPixels (1.92)
The zoom allows for better focus and approach to take pictures
Only digital zoom
The 2G EDGE network is newer and faster
Faster for surfing the internet and download files
Better touch type. Multitouch allows to use more fingers at the same time
Headsets with 3.5mm Jack size are more common and easy to find in stores
Sensors help you use the device
Accelerometer / Proximity
Removable battery can be replaced easily
Lithium-ion – Removable
Speakerphone is useful when you are driving and on other occasions
The vibration of the device aids in the use of several features
With more SIM card slots you can have more operators and choose which one to use
2 slots DualSIM
The radio lets you listen to your songs and sports in general
FM with RDS / FM
More speed data transfer as mp3 and photos via USB
USB 2.0 Micro-B (Micro-USB)
In detail: Samsung overthrows Nokia to become the largest seller of mobile phones in [urban] India [The Economic Times, April 26, 2013]
KOLKATA: Samsung has overtaken Nokia to become the largest seller of mobilephones in the country’s major markets, as consumers lap up its new feature phones and its smartphones continue to do brisk business.
According to market tracker GfK-Nielsen’s data, Samsung‘s volume market share in urban areas in March rose to 31.4%, surpassing Nokia‘s 30.1%. GfK-Nielsen urban panel tracks sales in 793 cities and towns with a population of over 50,000, which account for more than 70% of India’s total handset sales.
This is the first time the Korean company’s volume market share has crossed that of Nokia’s in the GfK-Nielsen survey. The all-India figures, which will include rural sales, will be released shortly.
Some months ago, Samsung’s market share, measured in value terms, had exceeded that of Nokia’s, and there is now a considerable gap between the two due to growing demand for the Korean firm’s smartphones.
NEW MODELS PUSH SALES
Last month, Samsung‘s value market share in urban markets stood at 42.2% compared with Nokia‘s 20.7%. Analysts say Samsung’s gain in volume market share last month is led by the recent introduction of the Rex feature phone series and strong demand for smartphones such as Galaxy Grand and Note 2, the top-selling models at multi-brand retail outlets. Its newest premium smartphone, Galaxy S4, will be launched in India on Friday.
A Nokia India spokesperson said the company did not comment on country-specific market data, and added that it was executing its strategy with ‘urgency and at a new clock speed’. The spokesperson said at the higher end of the price spectrum, the company had launched ten Nokia Lumia devices in the past 16 months and claimed that Asha 305 was the best-selling smartphone in India.
“We are competing at every price point with better mobile experience. Nokia will continue to deliver new and innovative solutions to consumers,” she said.
Notwithstanding these initiatives, analysts and experts feel that Nokia’s more than a decade-long leadership in the Indian handset market is under threat. The company, which once enjoyed a dominant 80% market share, has never completely recovered from its failure to anticipate and react to the dual-SIM handset boom a few years ago.
“It’s truly unbelievable the way Nokia fell in India in the past six years. The brand failed to rejuvenate itself and fell prey to customer fatigue. Add to that the speed of execution – while Samsung was taking six months to launch a new model from the drawing board to retail store, Nokia was taking more than a year,” said former BlackBerry India head Sunil Dutt, who was Nokia’s head of sales till 2007. A Samsung India spokeswoman declined comment on the market share data. But Samsung India’s Country Head (mobile phone & digital imaging) Vineet Taneja said the company has gained market share.
“Samsung has created new segments, such as the Note series or the Rex series, which was developed in India. We have developed a strong product portfolio straddling across entry-level smartphones till the premium segment,” said Taneja. The Korean company has been the leader in the smartphones segment since end-2011, even as it trailed Nokia in the overall handset market.
Are smartphones in India at a tipping point with 10% overall mobile shares? [The Economic Times, April 23, 2013]
Ten per cent. It’s a number that has come to mean much for smartphones — the category of phones with computing prowess. It’s the point where a critical mass of buyers meets a pool of sellers to create the perfect storm. This phenomenon — 10% share as a tipping point — played out in Western economies. It played out in China, where the share of smartphones in total phone shipments rocketed from 9% to 59% in two years. And it’s playing out in Brazil and Russia, where the corresponding number surged to 32% and 46%, respectively, in the same period.
Will India, where smartphones hit 10% earlier this year, follow suit? A sustained build-up is underway to add charge to that figure. The price of entry-level smartphones has dropped to around Rs 4,000 [$74], from Rs 15,000 [$276] two years ago. “It’s compelling buyers to opt for fancier phones,” says Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst of Gartner India, who feels something fundamentally changed for the Indian market in the last quarter of 2012. “We are at the tipping point.” However, Sashi Shankar, chief marketing officer of Idea Cellular, says handset prices have to fall further.
“The market is expanding fast, but a tipping point is still about a year away,” he says. “We need smartphones for around Rs 3,000 [$55].” Even that new floor may not be far away. During his visit to India last month, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, hinted at a $50 ( Rs 2,700) smartphone powered by its Android operating system. At the other end of the price spectrum, Apple and Samsung are in the midst of a blitz to package affordability through financing schemes and replacement offers. And the number of sellers has hit 30, with recent entrants including a Chinese computer company (Lenovo), a Chinese phone company (Gionee) and consumer durable manufacturers (Videocon and Salora).
They are all looking to add to the pool of 50 million smartphone owners in India. The challenge for them is to coax India’s 700 million users, 70% of whom have handsets that cost below Rs 2,000, to switch. “The replacement market is driving the bulk of sales,” says Amar Babu, MD of Lenovo India. IDC, a technology consultancy, projects smartphone sales growing at a compounded 57% in the next five years, against 10% for feature phones. “About 20% of the phones that Samsung sells are smartphones, and this has doubled in the past one year,” says Asim Warsi, VP, Samsung Mobile, which has a dozen smartphones priced from Rs 7,000 to Rs 42,000.
“By 2015, about a third of shipments will be smartphones, 67 million out of an expected market of 230 million,” adds Vipul Mehrotra, director, smart devices, Nokia India. Although that is phenomenal growth by any yardstick, it might still not translate into the hockey-stick trajectory that other markets witnessed because of the way the Indian mobile ecosystem is set up and its inherent weaknesses.
No Carrier-Based Model
While handset makers say the tipping point is here, analysts feel the real tipping point is still 18-24 months away. “It will come when users see value in it beyond a fashion accessory — like use it for mcommerce, m-banking and even entertainment,” says Mohammad Chowdhury, leader, telecom, PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Mobile will be the main mode of internet access, but we need cheaper data plans, better phones at lower costs, and content in Indian languages.” According to Chowdhury, China and western markets took off at 10% as, unlike India, theirs is a carrier-based model. “Phones came bundled with the internet and were sold by operators,” he says.
In India people buy a phone independent of the carrier. “About 95% of the mobile base in India is pre-paid,” he adds. “They don’t have credit cards, debit cards or e-payment services, essential for a carrier-based model.” A carrier-based model requires a telecom company to buy handsets and manage inventory. “The cost is higher for telcos and they have to enter into revenue share agreements with device makers,” says Arvind Vohra, director of Gionee India. “In a market where margins are low, a carrier-based model won’t work.” Instead, at the lower end, sellers are playing the price card.
“It’s beginning to pick up,” says Warsi. “Smartphone makers are able to push a dearer phone, where the margins are better, for a monthly instalment no more than a cost of a family dinner outing.” Features and Data Plans Although prices are falling, the value for a user at the lower-end centres more around the feel and an initial experience of a smartphone, rather than an expanding engagement. According to Vohra, entry-level devices currently account for 30% to 35% of the market.
“Location based services or high-definition gaming apps may not run on them,” says Saurav Singh, founder-CEO, AppStudioz, a mobile app developer. But, adds Shashin Devsare, executive director of Karbonn Mobiles: “For a new smartphone buyer opting for an entry-level phone, being able to browse, chat with friends on Facebook or send emails is a new thing. He can then upgrade.” Data is the other hurdle towards a speedy transition. Device makers blame operators, who are exhausting their spectrum capacity and have limited money to buy more, for not upgrading their networks to 3G, compromising the internet experience.
“One-third of the smartphones sold are not 3G, but 2.75G,” says Jerold Pereira, business head, handset division, Videocon. “And in remote areas, 3G is still not there. So, users won’t get value out of their top-end smart device.” For example, of its subscriber base of 117 million, Idea Cellular had 4.7 million 3G users. Shankar of Idea argues that prices of data plans have dropped by half to Rs 250 [$4.5]per month for 1GB, and that it’s the content and devices that need to improve. Despite teething troubles, the mobile is gaining traction in data transactions.
According to Reserve Bank of India, mobile banking transactions in January 2013 doubled to 5.6 million and trebled in value to Rs 625 crore, from a year ago. Elsewhere, Flipkart reports a three-fold increase in transactions via handsets. Gupta of Gartner believes such usage will accelerate the migration to smartphones, which offer a better experience. Pereira of Videocon points to falling prices and doubling sales across industry to drive home the point that, despite hiccups, mobile phones are set for a upgrade. “In 2011, 10 million smartphones were sold and all were at least Rs 10,000 [$184] or higher,” he says.
“In 2012, the market doubled to 20 million, at Rs 8,000- Rs 10,000 [$147-184]. This year, 45-50 million devices will be sold and prices have dropped below Rs 6,000 [$110].” Even if this is not the tipping point, it’s formidable by numbers. And the real tipping point is not far away.
Samsung’s REX series aims to take on Nokia’s Asha but misses the point [BGR India, Feb 14, 2013]
Samsung today announced its REX series of feature phones, which intend to take on Nokia’s Asha range. Unlike Nokia, which calls its Asha full-touch devices smartphones, Samsung correctly calls its REX series as smart feature phones, considering it is based entirely on Java. While some of the phones in the series, especially the REX 90, share design cues with Samsung’s Galaxy S III and feel very premium for its price, there is no real reason for the products to exist apart from having something in the portfolio to counter Nokia’s Asha series.
Unlike Nokia, which seems to be investing both time and R&D dollars on taking the S40 platform a few steps further than what it was originally built for, the Java-based REX phones have no future path. “As far as S40 goes, think of it as if it had been sleeping all this while and has just woken up. We are working to make it even better and there is lot more to come. We are also getting many big developers to make apps for Asha series,” Calin Turcanu, the head of Nokia’s mobile phone division for Middle East and Africa, told me earlier this week at the global launch of the Asha 310.
The REX series, on the other hand is severely limited by its operating system and there is very little Samsung can do to improve the experience. Samsung also does not have a content story in place – it does not have a huge music store (Samsung typically ties up wih Hungama for its music offering in India) and it does not have any navigation or location play either. In other words, I don’t see these REX phones any different from Samsung’s Star and Pop series, which it introduced a few years ago. And there is nothing that app developers can do to give users a better experience, which is close to smartphones.
Considering how far Samsung was able to go with creating an ecosystem with its Bada operating system, which was more scalable and had more scope for apps and services, I don’t see any way that the Korean vendor can take the REX series’ experience a few notches above its current state.
Samsung knows a Rs 5,000 Android smartphone cannot give the same experience as Nokia’s Asha and it did not have any other in-house platform that could do what Nokia’s ageing but still alive S40 did with the Asha phones. I don’t see the REX series surviving very long, though it would do well initially if we consider Samsung’s marketing muscle and the push it would give to counter Asha full-touch phones. But it certainly has no future when it comes to addressing the needs of the consumer or taking them to the next level.
More information: Samsung REX [company microsite]
Samsung Introduces the New REX Series Smart Feature Phones [press release, Feb 13, 2013]
Samsung aims to evolve mobile communications in emerging markets through easily accessible smart feature phones
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced the launch of REX, a new series of smart feature phones that combine intelligence and capability to deliver an accessible, next-generation mobile experience for all.
“As the number one mobile leader and innovator, we are committed to developing the best possible mobile solutions to suit all lifestyles and budgets, which is why we are so excited to launch the REX series across a number of the world’s fastest growing markets,” said JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “REX devices are designed to seamlessly prioritize and consolidate essential mobile functions that matter most to customers across diverse markets. The result is an extraordinary end-to-end mobile experience with the best value for money.”
The Samsung REX series consists of four devices: REX 90, REX 80, REX 70, and REX 60. Each device has been tailored to give users access to a variety of unique features that have been developed to enhance their day-to-day needs and lifestyles at a highly affordable budget. Merging advanced functionality and intuitive usability, the REX series delivers practical solutions to complement daily mobile needs. Its responsive QVGA touch-screen user interface with intelligent features is designed to deliver a simpler, intelligent user experience for those who value the essentials.
Other features include:
– Intuitive and easy full touch UX : The simple, user-friendly Touchwiz interface makes it easier to navigate your mobile phone. Menu choices are organized into icons arranged 4×4 on the large display for easy viewing. Access to social networking services is just a click away, and practical widgets offer easy access to weather and other frequently-used applications.
– Stylish and compact design : The curved design of the Samsung REX series is inspired by the aesthetics of nature. Its compact size gives users a comfortable grip and allows convenient one-hand operation. The brushed metal frame, organic nature-inspired design, and delicate back cover create a modern, sophisticated look that will fit perfectly with your personal life.
– Dual SIM Always-On : Customers who want to keep their personal and work calls separate will enjoy the convenience of Dual SIM on the Samsung REX series, offering the functionality of having two phones with just one mobile unit. To ensure no calls are missed, Dual SIM Always On allows you to receive calls on one SIM even when you are on the phone using the other. The Samsung REX series allows you to switch between a maximum of five SIM cards without rebooting your mobile. Ideal for business trips to different coverage areas or for those wanting more flexibility between calling plans, the Dual SIM feature puts you in control of your mobile experience.
– Essential mobile intelligence : Featuring all the essentials for an intelligent mobile experience, the Samsung REX series guarantees fast web-browsing and app support through the Opera Mini. By doing so, the REX series enables seamless communication through social networking and messaging services, including the cross-platform ChatOn, which means users can remain connected with their friends at all times.
“Feature phones continue to represent a large opportunity for mobile handset makers, especially in price-constrained emerging markets,” said Ian Fogg, senior principal analyst, mobile and telecommunications research at IHS. “IHS estimates that there will be 653 million feature and entry-level mobile phones shipped globally in 2013. Entry-level smartphones must compete with ever smarter touch screen feature phones that offer many of the same social network, games, and mobile Internet benefits as smartphones but at an even more compelling price.”
A clear indication of Samsung’s commitment to pioneering mobile communication growth across the emerging markets, the REX series devices will drive the “new normal” in future full-touch feature phone development.
3.0” QVGA TFT LCD, C[apacitive]-Type
2.0 Megapixel Camera
H.263＋AMR , MPEG4＋AMR
AAC, AAC＋, AMR, MP3, i-Melody, MIDI, Polyphonic, WAV
Dual SIM with hot swap (option)
- Samsung TouchWiz
- Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service
- Yahoo Messenger (Push IM), Gtalk, Facebook chat
- Enhanced SNS (Java Facebook, Twitter)
Opera Mini, Access NF
- USB 2.0 Host
- Bluetooth® v 3.0 HS
- WiFi 802/11(b/g/n)
- 10MB User Memory
- microSD Slot (up to 32GB)
104.9 x 57.2 x 11.99 mm