New Delhi, Feb. 17: Finnish handset major Nokia is betting on smartphones to reclaim its leadership position in India.
“In the handset market, the next growth segment will be in the smartphone category and we intend to be present there with an innovative range of products across price bands to regain our leadership position,” Vipul Mehrotra, director & head (smart devices) of Nokia India, told The Telegraph.
Smartphone users constitute 4 per cent of total mobile subscribers. India’s year-on-year growth in smartphones is pegged at 52 per cent, higher than China and the US, a report by tech analyst Mary Meeker said.
According to industry estimates, smartphones will constitute around 17 per cent of all mobile devices sold this year, which translates into a sale of around 34 million smartphones.
Nokia India has ceded ground to Samsung, HTC and Apple in the high-end smartphone market. At the low-end, it is facing stiff competition from domestic handset firms such as Micromax and Karbonn.
“We are present in the two fast growing Indian smartphone segments — the value smartphone through Asha series and the feature-packed high-end smartphone through the Lumia series. The innovative features provided in these handsets is expected to draw in customers,” Mehrotra said.
The Lumia range has the latest Nokia PureView imaging feature that facilitates stable pictures in low light.
In the Asha series, Nokia offers full touch devices with a Web browser, exchange email support and gaming at a range of Rs 4,000-Rs 10,000.
During the first six months of 2012, Nokia had the largest — more than 22 per cent — share of the 102.43 million mobiles shipped to India, CyberMedia Research said.
This was followed by Samsung and Micromax at 13 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively.
However, competition is heating up. Last week, Samsung launched a series of feature phones — Rex — to take on Nokia’s Asha phones.
For the past few months, Apple has been trying to push iPhone sales. The iconic brand is shifting focus to emerging countries, including India, with sales dipping in other major markets.
Recently, Chinese computing major Lenovo, which launched its first smartphone in India last year, is eyeing 1 million unit sales by the end of this fiscal.
Other players such as HTC and BlackBerry are also gearing up to grab a larger share of the domestic market.