iPad Air, Retina mini hit Indian market
Apple has launched the iPad mini with Retina display and the iPad Air in the Indian market. The new iOS tablets went on sale in the world's second-most populous country late last week, and they remain at a premium price point in a country with only gradually increasing purchasing power. The premium tablets -- part of a line that has consistently proved the world's best-selling slates -- are a continuation of Apple's efforts to carve out a space for itself in the Indian market, where its products are often much desired but typically out of the reach of many consumers.
High prices of Apple phones a barrier
Apple is planning to launch a special trade-in program in India that would allow people to put non-Apple smartphones toward the cost of an iPhone 5c or 4S, according to local publication Business Today. A specific list of phones will be eligible, including the Nokia Lumia 925; the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10; the HTC Desire 500, Desire 600, One Mini, and One Dual-SIM; the Samsung Galaxy Mega, S4 Mini, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy Note 3; and finally, the Sony Xperia C, Xperia ZR, Xperia Z, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Ultra. Apple's own iPhone 4 will of course also be an option.
Reliance now carrying iPhone 5s and 5c on contract
For the first time ever, iPhone fans in India will be able to buy Apple's phones in a subsidized manner. Reliance Communications, India's third-largest telecom, is now offering the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on contract, according to The Wall Street Journal. The carrier's decision to offer a contract option signals a willingness to try again in an arena that has proved difficult to maintain in India.
First fully-subsidized iPhone offered in India.
The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have gone on sale in 12 more countries, following its original launch on September 20th and later expansion to 28 more countries on October 25th. India, one of the new countries to receive the Apple smartphones, will now have its first fully-subsidized iPhone on sale as part of a new contract.
Subsequent rollout phase set for November 1st
The iPhone 5s and 5c will launch in over 28 more countries on October 25th, Apple has announced. Italy, Russia, and Spain have been identified as the main launch regions that day, but the list also includes countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and Thailand. On November 1st, still another 12-plus countries will be added, including India, Mexico, and Turkey.
Company turns to franchise model to help expand retail presence
According to sources present at a confidential meeting between Apple India executives and the CEOs of 20 top retailers, the iPhone maker has bold plans to create 100 standalone franchise stores in the top 50 second- and third-tier markets in the country, and will also create "store within a store" (SWAS) experiences for smaller markets in a new partnership with India's top smartphone and consumer electronics chains, since Apple does not yet have any official stores there.
US asks for most user data, followed by India, UK, Italy, Germany
Government agencies representing 74 countries requested details from 38,000 Facebook accounts in the first half of the year, the social network has revealed. Its first Global Government Requests Report, similar to transparency reports published by Microsoft and Google, shows the governments of the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany as making the largest numbers of requests for user data from Facebook for the period.
Suggests Chinese, Indians may be less receptive than anticipated
Apple is indeed adding a gold/champagne-colored iPhone to its lineup, sources in the Taiwanese supply chain tell Reuters. The newswire agency doesn't have any further details, but suggests that the option may not be as popular in China and India as has otherwise been suggested. Several people were interviewed in both countries; in China, people described the idea of a gold iPhone as "a little tacky," "for guys," or something that "might be very ugly."
On-the-ground analyst says number is 'grossly inaccurate'
A report for a stock analysis site who is based in India is challenging the findings of market researcher IDC on Apple's success -- or lack thereof -- in India. The data, reported in the Economic Times, claims the company sold only 120,000 iPhones between January and March 2013 -- however IDC's own estimate of Apple's marketshare in the country suggests that in fact it sold nearly double that number, around 210,000 iPhones (using total handset sales figures from Strategy Analytics). A report from Credit Suisse in May said Apple was selling nearly 400,000 iPhones per month during the same period.
Amazon shipping Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD to India later this month
Amazon has launched its Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire HD tablets in India. Due to ship on June 27th, the Kindle Paperwhite and Paperwhite 3G will cost 10,999 rupees ($190) and 13,999 rupees ($240) respectively, while the Kindle Fire HD tablets are listed as 15,999 rupees ($276) for the 7-inch model, and 21,999 ($380) for the 8.9-inch version. The expansion to India follows a similar move by the retailer into China late last week.
Apple using payment plans, trade-in programs to make iPhone affordable
According to a report from a Credit Suisse analyst, Apple is now selling nearly 400,000 iPhones per month in India -- a rise of 300 to 400 percent since the start of the year, and enough to garner second place in the smartphone race behind Samsung in the country. The key to the change, analyst Sunil Tirumalai said in a note to investors, was changing the iPhone's image in the country to seem more affordable -- mainly by introducing discounts, trade-in programs and equal monthly payment (EMI) plans that have spurred sales on both the older and latest iPhone models.
American Express rebate, trade-in offer highlight deals
Apple is making some moves to make its iPhone line more affordable in India. Deals sponsored by Apple with partners include credit card rebates, trade-in discounts, subsidies, and modified payment plans. As a result of the plans, analysts expect "significant growth" in the region.
Samsung quickly copies plan in effort to counter Apple
Apple has taken second place in the large and growing smartphone market in India by using a clever workaround on its pricing. While offering its iPhones at roughly the same prices worldwide, in the India market the company is now employing a "trade-in" promotion with its reseller partners that has tripled sales in the space of a week. The lowest-priced model -- the iPhone 4 -- is now outselling the iPhone 5 as buyers trade in old smartphones for a discount of at least 7,000 Rupee ($129) off the $488 price of the iPhone 4.
Google puts Nexus 7 on sale in Indian Google Play store
Google has opened up the Nexus 7 to pre-order in India, ahead of the April 5th release date. The Google Play store lists the tablet at 16,000 rupees ($295) for 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, reports ZDnet, and will have the same 32GB option seen in other territories available to purchase. A version with mobile data access is not currently listed in the store.
Apple aiming to deepen Indian footprint
Apple is planning to triple the number of resellers in India to about 200 by 2015, say three franchisee sources reached by the Times of India. The people say Apple has asked them to scale up operations to match the company's aggressive expansion plans. On top of an increased number of resellers, Apple is also reportedly looking at growing its presence in regular, multi-brand stores.
Credit given to 'mom-and-pop' retail sales
The iPhone is now the second-most popular smartphone in India, having achieved a 15.6 percent share in Q4, according to IDC data reported by CNN. The shift is attributed to Apple finally accommodating the "mom-and-pop" stores that dominate the Indian electronics market, instead of depending solely on carriers and major resellers. Samsung remained on top of the local smartphone market in Q4 at 38.8 percent, while Sony was in third at 9.4 percent. CNN notes that in the previous quarter, the iPhone wasn't even in the top five.
Company pursuing more aggressive marketing
Apple has managed to grow sales in India about 300 to 400 percent in three months, according to the Times of India. The paper notes that after long neglecting the country, Apple has begun a hard marketing campaign for the iPhone, steering away from a previous strategy which relied on local cellphone carriers. Convergence Catalyst founder Jayanth Kolla remarks that as little as six months ago, Apple India employed only 30 or so people; the division now has closer to 150.
Mapathon 2013 to use Google Map Maker for crowdsourcing
Google is looking towards accelerating its crowdsourcing cartography efforts by offering prizes to participants in India. The Mapathon 2013 event from February 12th to March 25th will provide gifts, including devices and Google-branded merchandise, to the top 1000 users of Google Map Maker in India.
Team of 20 officials raid factory, operations continue unhindered
A factory in India that makes Nokia phones has been raided by tax authorities, according to reports. The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer's factory in Chennai was raided by 20 officials, with authorities claiming that taxes amounting to 3000 Crore INR ($542 million) have not been paid by the company to the Indian government.
Lumia 510 released in India, Lumia 505 in Mexico
Nokia has reportedly started to roll out Windows Phone 7.8 to some of its handsets. At the same time as the mobile operating system upgrade to some of the company's handsets, Nokia has also launched the Lumia 505 in Mexico, and the Lumia 510 in India, both of which will launch with Windows Phone 7.8 out of the box.
Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia get video
Following some early premieres, Apple has officially opened access to the iTunes Music Store in 56 more countries. While the company isn't providing a full list, it does highlight Russia, Turkey, India, Indonesia, and South Africa. Of the new countries, only Russia, Turkey, India, and Indonesia are getting access to movie rentals and purchases as well.
Could signal modest demand for fourth-gen tablet
Wi-Fi models of the fourth-generation iPad are now listed as "in stock" at Apple's US and Canadian online stores, checks show. Before its November 2nd launch the hardware switched to a one-week delay, and more recently times were reduced to between 3 and 5 business days. The latest development suggests that Apple has caught up with demand, and that perhaps that public interest is relatively modest, due to the simultaneous introduction of the Mini and very few differences with the third-generation iPad, which was only released in March.
Apple to allegedly be sole distributor
The iPhone 5 should ship to India on the last Friday of October, the 26th, several sources tell BGR. Unusually, Apple is expected to be distributing the device on its own in the country, instead of also going through carriers and/or third-party vendors, as it does elsewhere. At the same time, BGR suggests that the iPhone 5 may have a broader availability in India than previous iPhones.
Phone's fate after 2012 may be uncertain
Indian carrier Aircel is now selling the iPhone 3GS for less than $200, according to an official announcement. The device is now selling for about Rs. 9,999, or roughly $181. Buyers must also, however, pay for a year of unlimited data at a rate of Rs. 3,000, the equivalent of just under $55. The 3GS has been available in India for a long time, but typically at much higher prices.
Phone expected as early as April
Intel has reportedly teamed with Lava to create a new series of smartphones based on Medfield-series Atom chips. The Indian handset maker is said to be preparing to introduce a new smartphone brand for the Medfield devices, rather than sticking with its own branding that is currently tied to feature phones and a single budget-priced Android handset.
Company outsourcing software, maintenance work
Apple is aiming to "quadruple" the amount of money it spends in India, claims local publication The Economic Times. In January the company's CIO, Niall O'Connor, is said to have visited the city of Bangalore, where he was met by senior officials from two technology companies, Infosys and Wipro. O'Connor is reportedly deciding which firms in India will get lucrative software and maintenance contracts worth about $100 million.
Domestic investment waiver clears path
Apple could open retail stores in India following a change in local ownership rules, says a senior official with the country's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Apple has been in talks with the department for "some time," according to local business publication Mint, and is allegedly eager to retry the Indian market after having failed to make headway in 2006. Under previous rules, single-brand retailers like Apple would have had to have had at least a 49 percent domestic investment; now they can claim full ownership.
Overnight launched planned
The iPhone 4S will arrive in India on November 25th, local carrier Aircel has announced through Facebook. Pre-orders are set to begin on November 18th. The Times of India meanwhile claims that another carrier, Bharti Airtel, has launch plans of its own; the company is said to be planning midnight launches across the country as the 25th ticks over.
Company appoints interim leader
Research In Motion has confirmed that Frenny Bawa, managing director of the company's Indian division, has stepped down from her position to pursue other interests. Although the executive's reasons for leaving RIM were not fully disclosed, the announcement follows strong pressure from the Indian government to gain access to encrypted communications sent via BlackBerry Messenger.
Brings smartphone features to basic handset
Peek, a provider of SaaS services that give internet-only wireless devices smartphone-like capabilities, is expanding to the cellphone market. Peek has partnered with Micromax, India's largest domestic mobile handset manufacturer, to offer cloud-based apps on that company's Q80 phone. Peek's "Genius Cloud" software will give the Q80 instant messaging, video chat, social networking, web browsing, and push e-mail.
iPhone 4 too expensive for most
Apple is planning a special version of the iPhone 3GS to accommodate India, a local report claims. An 8GB unlocked version is expected to ship sometime in the near future, at a price of 19,990 rupees, or about $444 US. Initial carrier vendors are only expected to include Aircel and Bharti Airtel, but others may join later.
Claims carrier exclusives are anti-competitive
Apple's practice of selecting one or two "exclusive" carriers in a country to sell the iPhone -- at least for a period following the launch -- has come under scrutiny in India, where a complaint has been filed with that country's Competition Commission, The Wall Street Journal reports. Not allowing all compatible carriers equal access to the popular phone immediately gives those who have it an unfair market advantage and is anti-competitive, the complaint alleges.
Bharti, Aircel picked as Indian carriers
The iPhone 4 will finally launch in India on May 27th, says the Wall Street Journal. The phone will be available from two carriers, Aircel and Bharti Airtel. The former is offering both pre-paid and subscription options, charging 34,500 rupees ($763) for a 16GB model, and 40,900 rupees for 32GB. With a two-year subscription people should get back the cost of the phone through monthly credits.
Top-end UAE option costs in excess of $1,000
The iPad is now officially available in the United Arab Emirates, Apple has announced. As the region lacks online or retail Apple Stores, the main way of buying the tablet is through an authorized reseller. One vendor, iStyle, is selling Wi-Fi models at prices running from 2,199 AED (about $599) for 16GB through to 3,099 AED ($844) for 64GB. The cost of a 3G iPad scales from 2,799 AED ($762) on up to 3,699 AED ($1,007), imposing a high premium versus the US, where the most expensive iPad is still only $829.
Prices start at equivalent of $569
The iPad will be launching in India on January 28th, the Telegraph reports. Because Apple lacks online or retail stores in the country, people will primarily have to turn to authorized resellers to get the tablet, such as Imagine in Calcutta. Wi-Fi models should cost between 26,000 and 37,000 rupees, or about $569 and $810. 3G versions should sell for between 33,000 and 44,000 rupees, or roughly $723 and $964.
Company denies changing security architecture
Research in Motion has denied rumors that it has made special concessions in talks with India over access to encrypted information sent over BlackBerry networks. In a statement provided to the Wall Street Journal, the company claims it will not make changes to its security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers.
Backs notion of Verizon iPhone
Two CDMA-based carriers in India are negotiating with Apple for the iPhone, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The companies are Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, the latter of which at least has allegedly been in talks for four to five months. Although there is no indication of when either carrier might launch, the news is thought to be more evidence that Apple is building a CDMA iPhone, primarily for a debut with Verizon in early 2011.
Three-year saga continues, end in sight?
The Indian government has extended RIM’s October 31 ban deadline to January 31. According the Economic Times newspaper, the new arrangement has given RIM an additional 90 days to give India's security forces appropriate access to its Enterprise data services. RIM has made some of its services manually accessible, including its messenger service, but has promised to deliver real-time access by the start of next year.
Carriers discuss iPhone 4 availability
Digiarty has announced that it is giving away free copies of HD Video Converter for Mac until June 20th. Supporting over 200 video and audio codecs, the app converts videos into formats compatible with a variety of devices. This includes multi-track HD videos containing several language and video tracks. Digiarty adds that it is also currently offering a small discount on DVD Ripper for Mac, bringing the price down to $36.
Carrier joins fray against Bharti Airtel
Vodafone's Indian division, Vodafone Essar, has begun selling the iPhone 3GS in the country. The carrier will have to compete with Bharti Airtel, which is launching on the same day. Essar is offering both pre-paid and subscription data plans; the latter cost 200, 499 or 699 rupees per month, and offer 100, 250 or 600MB of data before regular rates kick in. The pre-paid option includes no bundle but costs only 100 rupees a month, just over $2 US.
Phone long overdue
Having only said last week that it would soon carry the iPhone 3GS in India, Bharti Airtel has just announced that sales will begin on Friday, March 26th. While the iPhone 3G has been available in the country for some time, the 3GS has been kept out for unspecified reasons. These could potentially involve relatively slow demand, given India's Third World status.
India's $10 notebook
The Indian government is indeed laying plans for the sale of a $10 notebook, according to a regional newspaper. Although the government is at one point said to have retracted the pricetag, adding a zero to the end, DNA writes that a prototype of a $10 (500 rupee) notebook will go on display in Tirupati on February 3rd. The computer was jointly developed by the Indian Institute of Science and Indian Institute of Technology, and is a part of a plan dubbed the National Mission on Education.
India postpones 3G auction
India has postponed the auction of its 3G spectrum from an original date of January 16th to the 30th, following requests from potential bidders to have more time to review related documents and rules. At the same time, the deadline for applications to become a bidder has been extended from the 5th to the 15th. The auction will give domestic and foreign companies the option to acquire the 2.1GHz wireless frequency, used for HSPA-based 3G data network services.
Airtel ups iPhone 3G price
Bharti Airtel, one of two iPhone 3G carriers in India, has announced new details on its iPhone 3G launch Friday. All three variants (8GB black, 16GB black and 16GB white) are expected to be available, with the 8GB model retailing for Rs 31,000 ($716), and the 16GB versions selling for Rs 36,100 ($830). The prices are substantially higher than previously anticipated.
Indian iPhone pricing
The Indian branch of Vodafone says it is now taking pre-orders for the iPhone 3G, in advance of its official launch in the country, scheduled for Friday, August 22nd. 8 and 16GB iPhones will be available, and will cost Rs 31,000 ($710) and Rs 36,100 ($830), respectively. These prices are significantly higher than in the US market, where the 8GB model can be obtained for as low as $200.
Vodafole adds iPhone specs
Vodafone on Tuesday announced official pricing and availability information for the iPhone in India, offering the device starting at an astonishing Rs 31,000 (~$715) for the 8GB model, or Rs 36100 (~$830) for the 16GB. Vodafone is offering potential customers a chance to own the device "before others do", by placing a Rs 10,000 (~$230) deposit, allowing them to book a specific time for their purchase and setup for the launch on August 22nd.
Vodafone iPhone pre-regs
Vodafone India has already begun taking pre-registrations on the iPhone 3G, according to an announcement. The move is unusual in that the company has yet to disclose a final release date for the device, although rival Bharti Airtel is expected to release it on July 11th along with the initial wave of iPhone 3G deployments. Bharti has not formally announced any iPhone plans, including any registration campaigns.
RIM's Indian market woes
The latest update in the Indian government's ban of the BlackBerry cellular phone has the Canadian maker of the device, Research In Motion, telling the government it is not able to provide it with encrypted messages sent by its enterprise customers. RIM already had a 15-day ultimatum imposed on it by the government, which is demanding access to all wireless communications for security reasons.
Indian iPhone in September
Reports indicate that an Indian iPhone could be just around the corner, allegedly available in September between Rs 27,200 and Rs 28,000. According to the Business Standard, Vodafone is expected to have the 8GB iPhone during the first week of September, with the 16GB version to surface in the middle of 2009. The news reportedly comes from Apple sources in Singapore, who only a few months ago was revealed as "tight lipped" until recently.
Videocon wants Moto phones
As Motorola announces its desire to spin off its handset and broadband business as independent public companies, Videocon Industries is first to throw its hat into the ring, filing an expression of interest document for the former of the two departments. According to DeepikaGlobal, there will be a delay in the decision, however, since the acquisition process is required to be cleared by the regulatory body. Videocon chairman and managing director V. N. Dhoot told reporters of its intents.