The Indian divisions of LG and Dell have committed to Android as their platform choice for mobile products. Google's Android has helped eliminate a huge barrier for handset manufacturers by allowing them to come up with handsets and concentrate less on the software. According to Android (in India)-focused website AndroidOS.in, LG and Dell have six and four handsets respectively. Motorola, HTC and Samsung are other major manufacturers, each with at least 10 devices in the market.
The Korean brand war between LG and Samsung so far has seen Samsung as the clear leader in mobile. Going forward, LG India is targeting 40% revenues from their mobile and IT businesses and plans to launch up to 45 new handsets this year.
A late entry in the handset manufacturer race, Dell, has tried their hand at Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and Android. At Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Mango event, Dell was conspicuously missing from their hardware partners list. Earlier this year, Dell acknowledged their late entry in mobile but claimed that they will try to cover up lost time with new handsets. Dell is right now expanding their manufacturing plant in Chennai (South India) to increase exports to the Western market. The current break-up of the plant output is 80% to 85% for India and the rest for Western countries. Post expansion, the export quantity will be increased to 30% of plant production.
Apple releases their iPhone handsets in India a year after the US launch, which to users is annoying since these year-old handsets are still sold at a premium while people in the US get the latest iteration. Apple's reluctance to include India in their initial launch list is difficult to comprehend since people find ways to import the latest handsets. An unlocked iPhone (latest version) is sold at around $600 on launch, which is the price one pays in India for the year-old handset with a two-year contract. Android and iOS are competing for the first spot and if LG and Dell can bring in competitive handsets with the newer versions of Android to India, they can make a mark in the market.
In India, Samsung has been trying to promote their indigenous mobile platform, Bada, for feature phones, while Android is being used for smartphones. The strategy for LG and Dell to use Android might give them the much required initial traction courtesy of Android's brand name and Google's dedication to the platform. Dell has been a hardware manufacturer and focusing on hardware makes sense. Despite the unfortunate failure of Venue Pro, the handset was nicely designed and complemented Windows Phone 7 quite well. If Dell is able to have design quality that leverages Android's capabilities, they can develop an experience for the user around tablets and phones. LG on the other hand needs to hire some smart handset designers.