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Android phones call on Indian consumers

August 20, 2009 13:30 IST

Samsung Electronics and Motorola are gearing up to launch handsets based on Google's Android operating system in India.

"Between now and December, we would be introducing at least 13 new models in the country, including handsets based on Android OS. We expect the Android phone to be a hit, especially among the youth and the developer community in the country," Samsung India country head (mobile business) Sunil Dutt told Business Standard. He, however, did not divulge the date of the launch, neither did he divulge any price point for the Android phones in India.

US-based handset major Motorola, too, according to sources close to the development, is planning to launch Android-based handsets in the country. A Motorola spokesperson said the company had earlier announced the global launch of Android phones, but an India-specific date could not be provided. "Motorola is planning to bring Android devices to market in Q4 in the US, on shelves in time for the holiday season," added the spokesperson.

Earlier, this June, Taiwanese handset maker HTC had announced the launch of a handset based on Google's operating system software 'Android' for mobiles and other wireless devices, in the country in partnership with telecom operator Bharti Airtel. Christened 'HTC Magic', is a touchscreen handset equipped with a 3.2-inch screen, 3.2 megapixel camera and has 3G capabilities and priced at Rs 29,900. Bharti Airtel is the exclusive carrier.

Android is a free and customisable OS for mobile phones.

Apart from being a serious rival to Apple's iPhone, the open source suite is expected to help in lowering the cost and development of new mobile applications.

"Following the iPhone launch, which has done commendably well from a customer point of view, every manufacturer is looking at duplicating the success. With users looking for a robust OS, Android is an obvious choice, mainly because of it being an open source platform," Ernst & Young Partner (advisory services) Manesh Patel told Business Standard, adding: "Eventually, these would lead to a reduction in cost of applications on high-end phones and development of the telecom ecosystem."

Meanwhile, Google - which is shelling out $10 million for developing Android - plans to launch 55 handsets with the OS by next year. However, Nokia (the company with the largest market share in the country) will continue its dependence on Symbian OS. Even though, Symbian cannot be termed as fully open source, it permits geeks to develop the codes to a large extent.

Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
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