Karbonn and Micromax surpass both Apple and Samsung in India

Karbonn and Micromax surpass both Apple and Samsung in India

Summary: The depreciating Indian rupee isn’t keeping Indian consumers away from buying new devices. In fact, now they’re inclined to purchase domestic products instead of paying more for international brands.


The rising demand for affordable smartphones in India has lead to increase in demand for domestic products, helping local manufacturers surpass demand from international brands such as Apple and Samsung, according to market research firm IDC.

According to the IDC data, for the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan, homegrown vendors shipped 46 million units, while Apple and Samsung combined only shipped 35 million units for the 2nd quarter of 2013. In the latest statistics, Samsung kept its lead ahead of Micromax in second and Karbonn in third.

Furthermore, IDC recognized Indian phonemakers such as Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, and even Intex as rising stars in the emerging smartphone market in India. Homegrown companies comprised of 38 percent for volume in the 2nd quarter of 2013, up from 20 percent in the same quarter in 2012 and 7 percent in the same quarter for 2011.

(credit: IDC)

Clearly, Indian devices are receiving more brand awareness and recognition than ever before as Indian consumers are leaning towards domestic products instead. If you ask me, except for the name itself, I personally think Indian devices are just as good as any devices sold from Apple, BlackBerry, and Samsung.

Downside to Indian devices

That being said, there is one drawback to purchasing Indian devices that many Indian consumers aren't aware of. Even though all of the devices are unlocked and can easily be used with all Indian mobile operators, the devices itself only work in India. The GSM bands and frequencies Indian devices currently are equipped with means they only work in the Indian sub-continent. Consequently, those roaming internationally in places such as Europe or North America won't be able to use their devices.

This is a shortcoming which I feel Indian companies should address in the long term, as then eventually their devices could be exported and sold abroad. Furthermore, this would alleviate the current international roaming issues Indian consumers face with an Indian device. On the contrary, devices made by Nokia and Samsung in India, for example, that are also unlocked, do work abroad. However, these devices, as they're manufactured in India, are usually just for sale within India itself.

Furthermore, Indian companies could reduce costs to consumers even further by sourcing production of parts within India itself. At the moment, all the parts come from China and final assembly takes place in India. As a result, the import tariffs for these parts are passed on to Indian consumers. Now, with the depreciating Indian rupee, even the prices for the most basic Indian device are set to rise in the short term. That being said, India is still probably one of the only places in the world where you can purchase a decent device for less than US$50.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, India, Tech Industry

Nitin Puri

About Nitin Puri

Originally from Canada, Nitin has been residing and working in India since 2009. He has worked in different ICT industries in countries such as India, Canada, and Tanzania. He is an avid follower and application developer within the growing mobile phone sector in India.

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  • Information is Wrong


    I would like to point out that the information provided is false.
    I have purchased 2 best Indian handsets - Micromax Canvas HD and the Karbonn Titanium S5.
    I bought these in Bangalore and then left to Paris. I live here in Paris with local SIM cards (SFR) and they work absolutely fine. I have 3G connections for both and they work just great.

    Please do sufficient research and then post the article.
    Ram Kanchibhotla
    • @Ram Kanchibhotla

      Even though he is wrong in calling that all the mobiles do not support Europe/US, he is still mostly right. Most of our local manufacturers are not providing quad band with the products.

      The two devices you mentioned are quad bands. And many mobiles that are introduced in the past 6 months supports quad band.
      • Thank Ram, and you are correct. This was the point I was trying to make.

        Thank Ram, and you are correct. This was the point I was trying to make.
        Nitin Puri
    • Kam, I have 3 Indian devices that do not work in Canada.

      Kam, I have 3 Indian devices that do not work in Canada.

      You may have purchased top end devices, but mine were low end Micromax
      and Karbonn devices, and they did not work in Canada, on 3 different carriers.
      Nitin Puri