Tag Archives: Spice Mobile

Spice Mobile launches India's first 3G enabled Dual-SIM QWERTY phone

17 Nov

Spice Mobile today launched the QT95, India’s first 3G-enabled Dual-SIM QWERTY phone. The phone supports dual standby with one SIM card for 3G and another for 3G. The QT95’s features include a 3.2 MP camera, a front facing camera for video calling and two microSD memory card slots.

The second phone announced today, the QT68, has the same features as the QT95 barring 3G capabilities. Instead, it has Wi-Fi connectivity. The QT95 is priced at Rs 5,499 while the QT68 is priced at Rs 4,999.

Spice likely to launch Android smartphones in India this week

17 Aug

spic mobile android phoneSpice is holding a press conference with Qualcomm on August 19 in New Delhi and we have a fair idea what it is all about. In all likelihood, Spice will launch its first Android smartphone based on Qualcomm’s MSM 7227 SoC platform. Launched as the Mi300 in Malaysia a month ago, the smartphone has a 3.2 inch HVGA display, a 5.0 MP camera, a 3.5 mm audio jack and the works…

What we would be looking out, however, is for the Mi700 – an Internet Tablet running on Android and sporting a 7.0-inch display. Spice was scheduled to announce it in August and the timing seems perfect. If launched, it would compete directly with the Olivepad, which is priced at about Rs 25,000 in India but is not yet available in India. We will be covering the event live on Twitter on August 19. Stay tuned in.

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.

Spice launches M6 sports phone in India

31 Jul

Spice Mobile has launched a new phone in India aimed at sporty youngsters. The Spice M6 comes pre-embedded with a ‘Sports Zone’ that keeps track of latest news from the world of sports via feeds from Yahoo! Sports properties like Yahoo! Cricket, Yahoo! Tennis and Yahoo! F1. For online social networking, the M6 comes pre-installed with Nimbuzz IM client as well as a video sharing app from Vuclip.

Like all ‘made for India’ phones, the M6 is a dual-SIM handset and comes with Opera Mini browser pre-embedded. On the features front, it has a 1.3 MP camera, FM radio with recording, a memory card slot that supports microSD cards up to 4 GB and stereo Bluetooth. The M6 has a 1000 mAh battery that the company claims will provide up to 5 hours of talktime.

The Spice M6 is priced at Rs 4,499, which we believe is slightly expensive for a phone with these specifications.

Spice launches Android smartphone in Malaysia, plans to launch Internet Tablet in August

26 Jul

Spice CSL of Malaysia, a JV between Malaysia’s CSL Group and Spice i2i (a Singapore-based entity of Spice Global) has launched an Android smartphone in Malaysia. Judging that it sports Spice branding, we assume that Spice Mobile will soon make its Android debut in India.

The Mi300 (the name might change if it is launched in India) is a typical mid-end Android smartphone (think of the HTC Wildfire) and has a 3.2 inch HVGA (320×480 pixels) display. It is powered by a Qualcomm MSM 7227 SoC with a 600 MHz ARM processor and has 512 MB ROM/256 MB RAM. It currently runs on Android 1.6 but the company says it will be upgraded to Android 2.1 soon. We wonder why it wasn’t launched in Malaysia with Android 2.1 when other vendors are about to announce their smartphones running Android 2.2.

Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. On the multimedia front, the Mi300 offers a 5.0 MP camera and a 3.5 mm audio jack. We would be interested to see how soon Spice brings the Mi300 to India and at what price point. We would like to see it launched at about Rs 10,000.

Spice CSL is also planning to launch an Android-based Internet Tablet – the Mi700 – in August. It is expected to have a 7.0 inch touchscreen and we won’t be surprised if it shares its specs with the recently-announced Olivepad.