Tag Archives: Micromax

Everything you wanted to know about the 'modu T'

20 Oct

modu t jacketsModu Mobile, an Israeli cellphone manufacturer, took the industry by storm in 2009 when it showcased the world’s first modular phone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The concept was powerful – a tiny device that could function on its own as a cellphone but could morph into different roles when it was inserted into specially built jackets. However, modu phones never really took off and the modu T is essentially the company’s second innings. It has been recognised as the world’s lightest 3.5G touch phone by the Guinness Book of World Records. Here’s a list of everything you wanted to know about this mysterious phone, which will be launched in India.

 

The concept still remains the same – the main phone unit aka modu and an array of jackets.

 

The only thing that seems to have changed is that it now runs on Qualcomm’s BREW platform and has a range of applications like Facebook, Snaptu, YouTube, eBuddy, TuneWiki among others preinstalled.

 

Apart from apps, a key to modu is the jacket. Depending on the jacket the device can transform itself into a camera phone or a music phone or even a text messaging/e-mailing/chatting phone.

 

Micromax will announce the modu T tomorrow. The phone is expected to retail at Rs 9,999 and is likely to come bundled with two jackets.





UPDATE: The official price of the modu T is Rs 12,500 and will be available with Aircel.

Update: Micromax to sell the 'modu T' phone in India

19 Oct

We know we have been bombarding you with posts related to Micromax but we promise that this is the last and the final one for today. We can now confirm that Micromax will announce that it will distribute the modu T phone in India. Yup, the same tiny phone which was awarded the Guinness World Record for being the lightest 3.5G touch phone in the world.



The modu T is a sleek device with a 2.2 inch touchscreen, 2GB of onboard memory (expandable upto 32GB with a microSD card), a 5.0 MP snapper, FM radio and GPS. It also offers a couple of pre-embedded social networking apps.



And in case you’re wondering about the Micromax Android and the Micromax EG333 (EVDO+GSM) handsets, let us tell you that those phones are around the corner and we will keep our eyes peeled.



Update: We have been able to glean some more information from our sources. Modu will utilise Micromax’s distribution strength to sell its wares. The device is likely to be priced at Rs 9,999 Rs 12,500 and will come with two jackets – sportify and camerafy. The camerafy jacket will give it a 5.0 MP camera.

Weekend Reading: Made in China, Made for India

31 Jul

Last week someone asked me how many cellphone models are available in India. After putting some thought, I realised I’m not even sure of the number of cellphone brands present in India, leave aside the number of models. I discussed this with a couple of analyst friends, who pegged the number of brands in the range of 70-100, with at least one new phone brand getting launched every fortnight. Well, that’s just the brand launches we come to know about, I’m sure there would be more brands selling their wares out there in the market.



But how do these brands make money? And most importantly, how do they compete with global giants? Here’s my two cents on this ‘homegrown cellphone brand’ phenomenon.



I will take the latter question first, how do they compete with global giants? After all, the likes of the Nokias and Samsungs of the world have much deeper pockets that translates into marketing muscle, they have been around for many more years and have become household names. So how is it that someone like a Micromax or a Karbonn is able to eat into their market share?



The answer lies in making phones that address the local population’s requirements rather than making phones for a global audience – something that a Nokia might not be able to do. Analyse the features that a typical ‘Made for India’ phone has – dual-SIM, louder speakers, flashlight and higher capacity batteries. Some of them might even offer a front facing camera, when clearly you cannot make a video call on a phone that does not support 3G or a TV receiver that picks up most Doordarshan channels. Would a Nokia provide such features? Never. (In fact, Nokia’s idea of Mobile TV was DVB-H, which would have provided it with an alternative revenue stream.)



But consumers, especially in smaller towns and villages love such ‘gimmicky’ features. It gives them bragging rights over users of ‘global phones’ that provide only regular features, while a ‘Made for India’ phone provides much more features at a fraction of the price. Yes, the durability of these phones is a big question mark, but youngsters who buy these phones rarely keep them for more than a year.



So how do these brands make money? This can be answered in four words – by keeping costs down. These companies do not have a battery of engineers, designers or developers that conceptualise devices. Neither do they have any sort of R&D facilities or manufacturing plants. All that they have is an efficient supply and distribution management system that minimises warehouse storage expenses.



Phones are imported in minimum numbers and are distributed through a network of micro-distributors (usually at district level) rather than having one national distributor who then sends it to sub-distributors from whom it eventually reaches the dealer. This reduces at least one middleman, which translates into a higher margin for the handset brand.



As phones are imported according to demand, these brands usually revamp their entire product portfolio once every quarter, which is much quicker than the industry norm of about nine months. This enables these brands to react more quickly to price variations as well as new feature requirements.



I believe that these handset brands are not just a lash in the pan and are here to stay, simply because it would be close to impossible for global brands to compete with them on their terms. It is not surprising that most of these brands now want to replicate their success in India in other countries, especially those in Easter Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. And there is a fairly high chance of them succeeding there as well.

Homegrown brands eat into Nokia's market share in India

24 Jun

Looks like the golden era of our desi mobile handset brands has just begun. According to the Voice&Data100 Indian Telecom Survey, the Indian handset vendors have grabbed a 14 per cent share of the Indian mobile handset market this year (2009-2010) which was just 4 per cent during the last financial year (2008-2009). Nokia which calls itself an Indian brand (pun intended) now seems to face a real challenge by these domestic vendors as the Finnish giant has suffered almost 12 per cent drop in market share during this period (from 62 per cent to 52.2 per cent).



Micromax captured a 4.1 per cent market share in handset revenue, Spice Mobiles occupied a 3.9 per cent share, Karbonn had a 3 per cent share, Lava’s share stood at 1.1 per cent and Lemon and Max had 1 per cent and 0.9 per cent share respectively.



Although Nokia still has the maximum market share of 52 per cent in the Indian handset market, the revenues of the giant have sunk terribly this year. Even by expanding its product portfolio by launching 22 new devices and making the handsets available across 2,00,000 retail outlets, the giant couldn’t save its dipping revenues which suffered badly by dropping to Rs 14,100 crore this year from Rs 16,567 crore last year, according to the report.



While Nokia lost 12 per cent market share this year, Samsung gained a cumulative 7 percentage points of market share, making it the second largest handset vendor after Nokia with a market share of 17.4 per cent. LG somehow managed to occupy 5.9 per cent share but the situation of Sony Ercisson has gotten worse. With a very less variety of low-end and mid-end phones, the vendor now has a minority share in the Indian handset market.



Source: CIOL

Wynncom launches 7 dual-SIM handsets in India at cut-throat prices

21 May

As expected, Wynncom has unveiled 7 dual-SIM mobile phones in India. The domestic vendor has launched these handsets in three different categories – utility phones with high battery performance and multiple language support; multimedia range with camera, video player, wireless radio and expandable memory and a QWERTY handset with a pre-embedded IM client and social networking apps. The company has launched these handsets between the price range of Rs 1,500 and Rs 5,000.

Check out the specs of these 7 handsets launched by Wynncom –

Wynncom Y50 – Dual-SIM, QWERTY keypad, 2.0 MP camera with flash, video recording, expndable memory up to 8 GB, 3.5 mm audio jack, FM Radio, MP3 player, EDGE, JAVA, Bluetooth, inbuilt motion sensor and Nimbuzz Messenger.

Wynncom Y30 – Dual-SIM , 2.0 MP camera, video recording, FM Radio, MP3 player, Bluetooth, GPRS and expandable memory up to 8 GB.

Wynncom Y22 – Dual-SIM , MP3 player, motion sensor, VGA camera, Bluetooth, GPRS and expandable memory up to 4 GB.

Wynncom Y21 – Dual-SIM , MP3 player, digital camera, video player and expandable memory up to 4 GB.

Wynncom Y20 – Dual-SIM, VGA camera with video recording, MP3 player, FM Radio, 3.5 mm audio jack and expandable memory up to 4GB.

Wynncom Y11 – Dual-SIM, MP3 player, video player, FM Radio, GPRS aNd expandable memory up to 4GB.

 Wynncom Y10 – Dual-SIM, audio player, FM radio with recording, video player and expandable memory up to 4GB.

Domestic handset brands attracts design house Longcheer to set shop in India

17 May

India is not only the fastest growing cellphone market by new subscriber additions but is also the second largest handset market in the world with about 15 million new handsets sold every month. No wonder, Indian entrepreneurs and business houses have stepped in with their own handset brands complete with their high-profile brand ambassadors and massive marketing budgets that sponsor cricket tournaments and teams.

Micromax, a domestic brand, which began retailing its range of cellphones in 2008 is today India’s third largest handset brand and sells over a million units a month, slightly behind Samsung. The company was one of the sponsors of the recently-concluded IPL cricket tournament and has Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as its brand ambassador.

Wynn Telecom, a newly-launched handset brand in India, has already roped in Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan and Bipasha Basu as its brand ambassadors and claims that it will have the largest service centre footprint in the country. The company is yet to launch its handset in the market.

These are just two examples. There are many such handset brands in India, which operate only in India and are making global handset brands like Nokia and Samsung nervous. And this is exactly the kind of market that a design house like Longcheer thrives in.

Longcheer is a Singapore-based design house that designs mobile phones and related products like USB modems and data cards for other brands. The company has set shop in Noida near New Delhi with an aim to hire about 30-40 employees. Manu Nagar, the CEO of the Indian subsidary, has about 15 years of experience in this industry with his last stint being with MediaTek, the company on whose chipset platform most of these handsets from domestic brands work. Thanks to his MediaTek days, Nagar knows the needs of these handset brands and what it will take for them to thrive when competing with global handset vendors that ship over a hundred million units every year.

“Domestic brands can provide customised products aimed at local markets that these big players cannot. For instance, we can help a brand launch phones with local language keypads for individual markets throughout the country. This is simply not possible with a big global brand as they seek volumes,” says Nagar.

While a domestic player can make decent margins by selling even a few thousand units of a phone model, for a global player, the number is usually hundreds of thousands every month.

Take the dual-SIM phenomenon, which has become a very crucial feature in India thanks to the sheer number of carriers and the ensuing tariff wars. However, Nokia is yet to launch a dual-SIM phone as it fails to respond to local market needs. On his recent trip to India, Nokia’s Anssi Vanjoki, now the head of the company’s smartphone business, told us that the company has to look at the complete ecosystem, which includes carriers, before announcing a product. (Carriers resent dual-SIM phones for obvious reasons.)

But are domestic handset brands mature enough to spend some serious money to get their own industrial designs and user interfaces? After all, they have done pretty well for themselves by shopping in the streets of Shenzen and placing orders with OEMs that churn out an existing model and simply re-brand them. Nagar thinks they are. “We are already working with a couple of players,” he informs us. Wynn Telecom today announced its partnership with Longcheer and the other major player is anyone’s guess.

One area where we don’t necessarily agree is when it comes to blatant copying of both industrial design and user interfaces of major handset brands by these domestic players. Pick up any QWERTY keyboard phone from these domestic brands and nine-out-of-ten of them will look like a BlackBerry handled and almost all of them would have a BlackBerry-like user interface

Longcheer’s Nagar feels that there is a difference between ‘same’ and ‘similar.’ We agree that there might be a blurry line that separates the two but if these brands are really thinking of becoming a major international handset brand in the coming years, they need to do better than aping what the biggies have done. “That’s exactly where Longcheer comes into play,” exclaims Nagar.

Longcheer is inaugurating its Noida office tomorrow.

Micromax expects to sell one million handsets by March 2010

7 Dec

Micromax, a Gurgaon-based handset vendor aims to sell one million handsets per month by March 2010. The company expects to reach a million sales mark in less than two years after its launch in 2008.
 

At present the firm sells around 6,50,000 units a month and the devices are imported from China, Taiwan and South Korea. To meet the increasing demand for handhelds, the company is planning to invest 100 crores in the coming year to set up a production plant in Himachal Pradesh. The plant at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, will begin production with an initial capacity of 50,000 handsets in February 2010.

 

Via Economic Times