Google Inc. working with less known handset makers to target middle class Indians

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New Delhi, Oct 12 (ANI): In its attempt to become a significant player in India's huge wireless industry, Google Inc. would reportedly allow several less known Indian handset makers to release low-cost devices that include the technology giant's Android operating system in the coming months.

Android lends functionality to smartphones, including touch-screen capability and a large marketplace of small software "apps," and has gained market share quickly this year in developed countries like the U.S.

According to the Wall Streets Journal, Google is now targeting developing countries like India, which has 670 million cell phone subscribers and has been adding about 18 million a month recently.

Most of the initial Google-powered phones in India from global handset makers like Motorola Inc. and HTC Corp. cost upward of 400 dollars, which is quite a high price for a market where 42 percent of the population of 1.2 billion people earns less than 1.25 dollars a day, the paper said.

Google is banking largely on a crop of inexperienced Indian smartphone manufacturers including Micromax Informatics Ltd., Spice Mobility Ltd., and Olive Telecom to make Android phones in the 150 dollar range, and eventually reduce it to a100 dollar level so the middle class Indians could be targeted, it added.

"You've got a lot of innovation happening from local manufacturers," the paper quoted Vinay Goel, who oversees Google's products in India, as saying.

"Android phones selling for more than 400 dollars are only going to capture a really niche market in India. To be in the mainstream, you have to be in the 100 dollars to 200 dollars range. The closer to 100 dollars the better," he added.

New Delhi-based company Micromax is hoping to release its first Android handset around Diwali early next month, and wants to have at least four Android phones by March. The company hasn't finalized prices but is aiming for around 200 dollars, a person familiar with the company's plans said.

Google has been helping the Indian firms integrate Android into their handsets and develop applications that will appeal to Indians and therefore it has encouraged the inclusion of Bollywood film and local media content, the paper quoted a person familiar with the matter, as saying. (ANI)

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