In 2012, more than 270 phones and tablets were launched in India. Devices based on the Android operating system were the most sought after, according to The Mobile Indian’s Annual Handset Hotlist for 2012.
Last year, Nokia was seen testing the waters with Windows operating system but it also launched feature phones with smartphone-like functionality. This dual strategy, at a time when most of the top international handset marketers were solely focused on smartphones, seems to have helped Nokia in keeping itself up and running in a turbulent year. This is also reflected in the findings of the survey.
According to the data of the survey, collected by a study of online preferences of several million people who visited the website (www.themobileindian.com) through 2012, the most searched phone in India was Nokia C5 03 followed by stable mate Nokia C6. Nokia’s Windows- based Lumia 610, Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 attracted a lot of eye-balls too. Nokia C5 03 made it to the very top because it featured at the No 1 slot for five consecutive months towards the beginning of the year.
Overall, however, Android devices remained the favourites among buyers as 10 of the most searched handsets are based on this Google-made operating system. Another highlight is that not a single BlackBerry smartphone featured in the list of the most searched phones in 2012.
When the year came to an end, 12 of the 25 handsets belonged to Nokia, followed right behind by 11 models from Samsung. This duopoly left just two slots for handsets from other brands in the Annual Handset Hotlist for 2012: one from HTC and another from Sony.
Commenting on the survey, a spokesperson of The Mobile Indian said, “In 2012, all the top handset marketers tried a variety of permutations and combinations to launch phones at different price points. Indian players too used the year to enter the smartphone segment in a big way.”
On the face of it, 2012 was a race between just Nokia and Samsung. However, there were wide variations in the contest during the course of the year with different brands challenging the status quo at various points in time.
The first quarter of 2012 belonged, without doubt, to Nokia. On an average 11 phones from the marketer got listed in each month’s hotlist of the 25 most searched for handsets. The Asha line-up plus a series of lower-end mobile phones that run on Series 40 operating system were on top of consumers’ mind.
If the first quarter belonged to Nokia the second saw the ascendance of Samsung. For the first time since The Mobile Indian started recording the Handset Hotlist in the middle of 2011, Nokia was knocked off the perch in April. That month, the list featured nine models from the Korean company as against eight from the Finnish one. Ever since then, Samsung has maintained the top slot every month by getting in more models than any of its competitors.
The second quarter was significant for another reason. It marked the swell of interest in smartphones among Indian consumers. About two thirds of the models that featured in the Hotlist in this period were smartphones.
A side note to this quarter was that a BlackBerry handset made it to the list in May. This was mainly due to the awareness campaign launched by Research in Motion to change the perception among consumers about BlackBerry. The general belief then was that BlackBerry was a business smartphone and limited, therefore, in its appeal to a wider audience.
The third quarter saw a fresh twist when a clutch of Indian brands, which had barely ever made it to the list, began to appear. In the Hotlist of the July-September quarter, large-screen Android phones from Karbonn, Spice and Micromax began to feature in the top half of the Hotlist.
This was the period when service providers drastically reduced 3 G tariffs- by almost 60 per cent – and pushed consumption of data services on mobile devices. Indian handset marketers capitalised on this move by launching affordable Android smartphones with a display size of 4-inch and above to address the growing need of the mobile internet.
Besides Android smartphones with a large display, consumers were also keen online in phones with strong camera capabilities. Phones with a camera resolution of 5 megapixel or more started gaining popularity. Nokia 808 Pureview, which comes with a 41 mega pixel resolution camera, was made available in the market.
And finally the last quarter belonged to Sony Mobiles. After dropping the Ericsson in its name, Sony launched a dozen smartphones in 2012. The result of this drive was that a brand which was on the fringe of consumer interest suddenly became mainstream. Five of Sony’s latest smartphones featured in the list of the top 25 in each of the months of October, November and December.
Prices have been dropping even as capabilities of mobile phones have been rising. In the midst of that mix of movements, the aspirations of Indian consumers have been growing. This is evident by looking at the pattern of search for mobile phone models on The Mobile Indian. In the last quarter, the typical handset visitors were looking for was priced at about Rs 14,000- this was double the figure for January 2012. The typical visitor may not pay that kind of money yet but it certainly indicates where his interest lies.
The Handset Hotlist survey, conducted by The Mobile Indian, is based on a study of online preferences of up to 1.5 million unique visitors who come to the site each month. The Annual Hotlist is based on the most searched for and viewed handsets among the more than 2,000 models that appear on the site’s Handset Guide.
|Rank 2012||Model||Price (in Rs.)||3G||OS||Screen Size||Design||Camera||Keypad|
|1||Nokia C5 03||12000||Yes||Symbian||3.2||Bar||5||Touch|
|2||Nokia C6||10500||Yes||Symbian||3.2||Slider||5||Touch Qwerty|
|3||Samsung Galaxy Y S5360||7609||Yes||Android||3||Bar||2||Touch|
|4||Samsung Galaxy Y Duos||6872||Yes||Android||3.2||Bar||3.2||Touch|
|5||Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830||10000||Yes||Android||3.5||Bar||5||Touch|
|6||Samsung Wave Y S5380||6930||Yes||Bada||3.2||Bar||2||Touch|
|7||Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus||15500||Yes||Android||3.65||Bar||5||Touch|
|8||Nokia Asha 200||4239||No||S 40||2.4||Bar||2||Qwerty|
|9||Nokia Asha 300||6150||Yes||Java||2.4||Bar||5||Touch|
|10||Samsung Galaxy SL I9003||17450||Yes||Android||3.65||Bar||5||Touch|
|11||Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos||13500||Yes||Android||3.5||Bar||3.2||Touch|
|12||Samsung Galaxy Pocket||6990||Yes||Java||2.8||Bar||2||Touch|
|13||Nokia Lumia 610||10000||Yes||Windows||3.7||Bar||2||Touch|
|14||Samsung Galaxy Note||31750||Yes||Android||5.3||Bar||8||Touch|
|16||Sony Xperia Arc S||25000||Yes||Android||4.2||Bar||8||Touch|
|17||Nokia 808 PureView||25000||Yes||Symbian||4||Bar||41||Touch|
|18||Nokia Asha 311||6550||Yes||Java||3||Bar||3.15||Touch|
|19||Nokia Asha 302||6027||Yes||Java||2.4||Bar||3.15||Qwerty|
|20||Samsung Champ Deluxe Duos C3312||3850||No||Java||2.8||Bar||1.3||Touch|
|21||Nokia Lumia 800||21500||Yes||Windows||3.7||Bar||8||Touch|
|22||HTC One V||15500||Yes||Android||3.7||Bar||5||Touch|
|23||Nokia Lumia 710||14790||yes||Windows||3..7||Bar||5||touch|
|24||Samsung Galaxy S III||34000||Yes||Android||4.6||Bar||8||Touch|
|25||Nokia C2 06||5700||No||S 40||2.6||Slider||2||Touch and Type|