Google’s Android platform will see a huge leap in its smartphone user base in India in 2014 and drive Apple into an insignificant status.
Kinda like what South Indian superstar Rajinikanth does to his foes in movie after movie.
As Tamil movie fans know well, by the time Rajinikanth leaves the battle field his enemies have lost the use of all their limbs.
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For Apple, already irrelevant in the Indian smartphone sector, Android’s huge growth in 2014 and 2015 will crush its aspirations for the iPhone in a key emerging market and make it extremely hard if not impossible to gain ground.
2014 – Android Celebration
In 2014, market researchers expect 225 million smartphones to be sold in India (versus 89 million units projected for the U.S.).
The Indian mobile phone market is still dominated by feature phones which account for 78% of all cell phones.
Of the 225 million smartphones projected to be sold in India this year, I expect over 80% will run Google’s Android software.
The bulk of Android’s growth in India will come from cheap Chinese smartphones without a big brand image. Not from high-end Android players like Samsung or HTC whose phones have the latest bells and whistles.
Smartphones, often running older versions of the Android software like Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean, can be had for as low as $100 in India. And they will rule the roost for the foreseeable future in India.
Apple’s iPhones (even the older models like the iPhone 4) are several times more expensive, putting them out of reach of majority of Indians.
Apple’s current share of the Indian smartphone market is insignificant, likely in the 1%-2% range.
Don’t be surprised if Apple’s share of the Indian smartphone market slips below 1% over the next 18-months.
By the way, Apple’s reported moves to push the three-generation-old iPhone 4 (8GB) in India is silly. Indians may be poor but they’re not dumb to pay a premium for old junk.
Although sinking elsewhere, Blackberry still has a large base in India with several medium and large businesses and financial institutions offering it to their employees.