Bharat (Still) Needs a $100 Android Phone. Google, Are You Listening?

Despite the high popularity and demand, there aren’t enough reliable smartphones in the low and mid budget segments. Google, are you listening? We need $100 smartphone.

India needs a $100 (Rs 5000-6000) Android phone. Wait, but don’t we already have a lot of them? Sure, but what we need is a real $100 phone which gives you a pure Android experience, without all the crapware on it. That is, something close to a Moto-E but a tad cheaper and similar experience.

Is there a Market?

Of course there is. Motorola sold 2.85 lakh Moto-E phones in India in a little over a month by selling it purely online. Imagine, if it could sell through all distributors?

India, the second most populated country in the world, also has second largest number of smartphone users. The country which homes 1.2 billion people, however, only has less than 200 mn smartphones users.

Looks like people are craving for a decent experience. But what’s wrong with the ones we have now?

Problem With Typical Cheap Smartphones

It’s not like that you cannot get an Android running handset for a cheaper price, but they are often sub-par devices and the experience leaves a lot to be desired.

One of the several issues with cheap devices is that they either have very low-specs or run an outdated operating system, and more often than not, both are the cases. The market is filled with Android Gingerbread smartphones, and that is certainly not the kind of experience Google wants its users to have in circa 2014.

Plus, the chipset these devices use is not really optimal for high performances. Phone makers makers get away with whatever they choose to deliver, especially in smaller cities.

Too Much Bloatware

Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, and most of the mobile OEMs add their own bloatware to their phones. In the name of differentiating their phones from rest, the bloatware is evidently affecting the handset’s software performance (See Gionee Review).

The solution lies in a ‘stock experience.’ Both Moto G and Moto E offer almost stock experiences on the phone.

Messy Update Cycle

The majority of companies follow their own irregular update life cycle. And things get even worse when you talk about Indian manufacturers. A study by PriceBaba found that leading Indian mobile maker, Micromax only provides one update to their smartphones. Expect the same from other Indian OEMs.


But not just that, on several occasions, Indian variants of popular smartphones were not provided with the latest update, whereas the global version is running the latest software. Samsung Galaxy S III is one example.

What we need is an authority, say Google looking at these manufacturers — noting the kind of relations that the Android maker had with Motorola — pushing them to roll out updates sooner.

A $100 phone will help to extend the reach of internet to more hands, allowing developers to tinker with their devices more often. It sits well with the search giant’s Internet for everyone strategy.

Today, the Indian market has hundreds of millions of potential customers that are going to buy smartphones very soon. A vast majority of them can’t afford the expensive flagship devices, but many of them can happily invest Rs 5,000, to Rs 6,000 on these handsets. And that’s where they need to step in.

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