Few years ago, iPhone was an experience. Those who owned an iPhone were treated like Gods and people wanted to touch it just once. When Apple launched iPhone in India, it used to cost an arm and a leg. There was nothing that could compete with iPhone.
What Google did to smartphone industry is what Microsoft did to PC industry. I hope I need not explain in detail. For less than half the price of an iPhone, you get Droids that does more than what an iPhone can do albeit the premium quality look. Go to the flagship Droids and they are either on-par or better than the iPhone, be it iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. The top end Droids like Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, HTC Incredible S, are better than the iPhone 4 while the devices like SGSII, Sensation XE, Motorola Razr, Galaxy Nexus are better than the iPhone 4S (all areas considered, especially in Indian markets).Once these top end droids hug Icecream Sandwich, they will become way way better than iPhone 4S.
Return of the king
Nokia, once the king of smartphone market is making a comeback and they are bang on track w.r.t creating the buzz among users by launching Lumia series of Windows smartphones. Nokia has always made hardware that could rival Apple but what they lacked was a proper ecosystem. Take one look at Nokia Lumia 800 and you will know what Nokia is capable of. Jaw dropping looks, powerful hardware, beautiful UI, rock solid shell make it the most awaited phone of the year.
The announcement of Lumia 800 has set things in express mode for Windows Phone. There is lot of buzz and developers are pouring in, new apps are coming up every day. This Lumia series could do to Windows Phone what HTC Sense based devices did to Android. Along with the Droids, am sure that Lumia will make merry in India and given the right push, they can put Nokia back on top. Nokia and Microsoft have already started airing commercials of Windows Phone 7 and they are creating quite a buzz.
iPhone 4S announcement
The one on the top is iPhone 4 and the one below that is iPhone 4S. Yes, they are more or less the same. The difference between 4 and 4S is
- Faster CPU and GPU
- Better camera
- Better antenna design
iPhone 4S was released just a month ago worldwide while iPhone 4 was released in India in June this year (about a year late). The price though was pretty good for what it offered (around 34.5k for 16Gb and41k for 32Gb). Few months before Apple released iPhone 4, Apple released iPad 2 at very aggressive pricing. Even to this day, iPad 2 pricing is in line with that of tablets (with similar quality and features). But still, neither iPhone 4 nor iPad 2 could get commendable market share. To make it worse, RIM sells more smartphones and tablets than Apple in India.
iPhone 4 16Gb costs 33.5k and 32Gb costs 41k while iPhone 4S 16Gb costs 44..5k and 32Gb costs 51k. Somehow, I get a feeling that, given the lacklustre sales of iPhone and given that only loyals and show-off guys are purchasing iPhones, carriers decided to squeeze as much as they can from there ‘definite’ buyers by pricing iPhone above 40k. Absurd and dumb move it is.
We, the Indians doesn’t fall for the blings and ding-dongs. We think twice before spending 1000 bucks. Imagine how much we think if we spend more 30x more? We compare price of gadgets to number of automobile parts we can get or grams of gold that we can buy for that money. The thing is if a smartphone costs more than 30k, people generally gives it a ‘shoo’ thinking that they can buy a laptop for that price. Android has made such inroads in India coz even the best droids are priced below 30k. India is not a country where people will pay any amount to get an Apple product. Yeah, there are some jerks who does that but even ‘minority’ ain’t the right word for them. India is a country where people value a product before spending money on it, be it a toilet cleaner or a flagship smartphone. So, the thing is “we ain’t gonna buy your products if you ain’t price them right.” How the heck did you think that people will buy iPhone 4S that is only a slightly better than iPhone 4 and does less than what top end Droids cost when you price it at 45k and 51k. Are you out of your bloody mind? For that price, one can get a full fledged high definition home theater setup and a midrange android phone. Some say that 4S is way way better than 4. For an end user who is going to buy a new phone, camera is the only ‘real’ difference that he/she experiences. If the buyer has never used an iPhone 4 before, it’s not easy to understand the difference. So, why not reduce the price of iPhone 4 to some 20k and price iPhone 4S a 30k-31k. This will definitely clear the stock of iPhone 4 and also tie those buyers to Apple ecosystem.
Indian market has become crucial for smartphone manufacturers. It can reap in heavy profits. Here are few suggestions that I would think will make iPhone a hot commodity:
- Price it at around 29k or start subsidized contract based pricing, at least to those with good track record with carriers. Many household appliances, cars, bikes etc are sold in EMIs and this method is working for these companies. Think about it.
- Indian music/movie store and subscription based music/tvshows/movie services.
- Sell when it is hot and when the world is buzzing about the new iPhone. Don’t try to push old models down our throats.
Apple’s market share is dropping fast and once Windows Phone finds momentum, it is hard for Apple to stay in smartphone market. It is better if they concentrate on huge markets like India and try to get user base that gets locked to the ecosystem.