India SMBs see smartphone, tablet appeal

Availability of low-cost devices and strategic importance driving country's small and midsize businesses to adopt tablets and smartphones, often in place of regular desk phones, states report.

India's small and midsize businesses are embracing mobility, and with it the various mobile devices and services such as smartphones and tablets. More than two-third of this business segment already own at least one such device.

According to an AMI-Partners report released Wednesday, about 67 percent of SMBs in India, defined as companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, owned at least one smartphone or tablet, and almost half planned to purchase more devices in the year ahead.

"The availability of low-cost smartphones and tablets has fueled demand among India SMBs, as has the launch of competitively priced 3G data plans," said Neha Jalan, senior associate at AMI-Partners, in the statement.

She cited Aakash, the country's low-cost Android-based tablet that is meant to target students, as an example. There has been strong demand for the device among local consumers, with the company already receiving more than 1 million orders since its debut, according to an earlier report.

Smartphones, too, have become an issue of strategic importance to the majority of these companies, with over half of these companies open to replacing desk phones with smartphones, thereby, providing advanced calling features to remote or mobile workers.

"India SMBs have traditionally shown a penchant for staying connected to partners," Jalan said. "This attitude is translating into an increased adoption of smartphones, which offers the twin benefits of anytime, anywhere voice and data connectivity."

With demand rising, this bodes well for the local telecom providers which are "eagerly awaiting" both the increased acceptance of mobile devices among company employees, and the widespread adoption of sophisticated apps such as business- and industry-specific applications, AMI-Partners noted.

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