Business Today

The problem of plenty

In the affordable smartphone segment, options galore and deciding on which one to buy is getting tougher.
twitter-logoNidhi Singal | Print Edition: Oct 26, 2014
(left) Karbonn Smart A12 and Lava 404 Flair.
(left) Karbonn Smart A12 and Lava 404 Flair.

These days smartphones come in various shapes, hues and prices. It has created its own problem. As the market gets flooded with options, deciding which one to buy is getting tougher. The recently launched Intex Cloud FX-based on Mozilla Firefox OS is one of them that costs Rs 1,999. There are also a plethora of wallet-friendly devices that run on Google Android OS. They start from as low as  Rs 1,999, which is what it costs for the recently launched Jive JSP 20 that runs on an outdated version of Android OS. But it definitely is well-built and has good looks.

But if you are looking for a smartphone with Kitkat, the latest Android OS, the prices will go up by a notch. Smartphones with this OS, a responsive 3.5 or 4-inch display, 5 MP camera, a dual core processor and 512 MB RAM costs upwards of Rs 2,500. One of them is Intex Aqua T2. It comes with a 3.5-inch screen, 1.3 GHz dual core processor, 512 MB internal storage and an expandable memory card slot. These are not the best in terms of specifications but at Rs 2,690 it does appear worthy.

The smartphone market seems to be facing a glut because for every extra Rs 100 that one decides to spend, there is yet another device to be considered. The Karbonn Smart A12 costs Rs 4,099. It has a 4-inch IPS display, 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 512 MB RAM, 4 GB ROM and a 5 MP rear camera. The Lava Iris 404 Flair has a 3.5-inch screen, 512 MB RAM, 1.3 GHz dual core processor, 4 GB of internal storage and 5 MP rear camera for just  Rs 4,649.

While all these smartphones are cheap due to competition, Google got into this segment with Android One with only one purpose: build high-quality handsets for a price as low as $100. The Android One smartphone has a good look and feel and performs well too. For Rs 6,000-plus, you get 4.5-inch display, a quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and a good battery.

We already have three Android One smartphones in the market - the Micromax Canvas A1, Karbonn Sparkle V and Spice Dream UNO. Google seems to have a strict quality control. In the box packaging, the placement of battery, headphone and charger are exactly the same. All three devices have a 4.5-inch display with a front-facing camera minus any branding. The company logo is at the back along with the prominent Android One branding. Remove the back panel and the two SIM slots, memory card slot and the battery placement too are identical. The innards too are alike.

While these smartphones offer a similar experience, Micromax Canvas A1 appears to have a better built quality. Hide the brand name and one would easily take it for a Samsung or a Motorola.

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