India

OnePlus is dominating India’s premium smartphone market

OnePlus gained around 48 percent of the market share within a span of less than three years

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According to a report by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus captured 48 percent of the market share in India’s premium smartphone segment in Q4 2017. Last year, OnePlus grew by a staggering 1,116 percent in the premium smartphone segment.

“It is truly remarkable that OnePlus has become the biggest Android premium smartphone brand within just three years of entering the Indian market,” Vikas Agarwal, General Manager at OnePlus, said in a statement.

Although OnePlus hasn’t revealed how many phones it has sold in India, it says that one-third of its total sales come from Indian consumers. “Globally, OnePlus has become a $1.4 billion company with India as its biggest market, contributing to one-third of the global business,” said a spokesperson.

India’s lucrative premium smartphone segment — defined as the one where phones cost above INR 30,000 (US$ 463) — has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. The report noted that the premium Android smartphone segment outperformed the overall smartphone market with 97 percent year-on-year growth. In comparison, the premium segment (including the iPhone) saw a growth of 54 percent and the overall phone market grew at 14 percent.

Tarun Pathak, Associate Director of Counterpoint Research, said, while India’s smartphone market continues to grow in double digits, the premium segment is all set to grow faster (more than 20 percent) than the overall smartphone market in 2018.

Seeing the growth and potential to grow further in India, OnePlus has started expanding into offline retail. OnePlus has been slowly opening physical stores across the country in a bid to capture the remaining sales channel. While Indians have shifted to e-commerce in huge numbers, there is still an equally large number of consumers who continue to shop offline. Though, the goal with physical stores is not just to boost sales, but also enhance the brand’s presence in the country.

India

Realme skyrockets in India mobile market as Samsung falls

Xiaomi continues to hold its spot

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This year Xiaomi and Realme have been constantly fighting each other in the affordable phone segment. Each month we witnessed the launch of a new product, that always ended up killing the competitors previous offering. It’s a never-ending cycle.

However, the sales figures have proven that there’s still no clear winner in sight. According to IDC’s Q3 2019 report, Xiaomi continues to lead the market with a share of 27 percent, followed by Samsung at 18.9 percent. Realme is at the fourth spot with 14.3 percent, just below Vivo.

On the flipside, Realme has registered year-over-year growth of a whopping 400 percent, while Xiaomi grew at a modest 8.5 percent. Unfortunately, Samsung is having a hard time tackling the two younger brands and registered a fall of 8.5 percent.

The average selling price for a smartphone was INR 11,000 (US$ 159). Data also showed that phones under INR 15,000 (US$ 200) still account for 80 percent of the market. But, this segment saw its share drop by five percent on a yearly basis.

The Redmi 7A and Redmi Note 7 Pro were the highest shipped models in the complete market. Realme’s online sales were at 26.5 percent and its shipments were 6.7 million. This also means that number two, three and four smartphone players are closely matched in terms of shipments.

With more than 50 percent share, Apple remained the dominant player in the premium segment, which includes smartphones in the range of US$ 500 and more.

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India

Nokia branded smart TVs will soon be a thing

Coupled with JBL audio

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Nokia TVs are on the horizon.

India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Nokia to launch Nokia-branded Smart TVs. Flipkart will not only distribute the brand’s smart TVs but is also handling the manufacturing in India.

This will mark Nokia’s entry in an extremely crowded market where new players like OnePlus have just recently arrived. Xiaomi has also been doubling down with its wider range of products and incumbents like Samsung, LG, and Panasonic continue to command a huge share of the market.

A launch timeline hasn’t been revealed yet, but we do know the TVs will sport audio by JBL. Besides Nokia, Huawei’s Honor and Motorola recently launched smart TVs in the country.

The company is known for its research and patents in the telecom industry and continues to work on it. On the side, it has licensed the Nokia brand to third parties like HMD Global for smartphones.

Nokia stopped making phones long back, its hardware division was later acquired by Microsoft, and ultimately everything ended. Though, the brand lived, and the Finnish company was far from giving up.

Flipkart was acquired by Walmart sometime back and the platform intends to leverage its online reach in tier 2 and 3 towns. Besides, all the TVs will be assembled in India under the central government’s Make in India campaign. This will help them avoid import duty on finished products as well as enjoy the direct benefits of the scheme.

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Apps

WhatsApp attack let hackers spy on users

Journalists and activists were specifically targeted

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the most widely used instant messengers and has a huge userbase in India. The app uses end-to-end encryption to protect data from snooping eyes. Unfortunately, hackers were not only able to bypass this security measure, but also separately install malware.

Before India’s General Elections, at least two dozen journalists, lawyers and activists were targeted for surveillance. WhatsApp has officially confirmed the incident and blames Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO for abusing a vulnerability.

WhatsApp has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, stating it “developed their malware in order to access messages and other communications after they were decrypted” on target devices. 1,400 users were compromised in total and state-of-the-art surveillance was active for at least two weeks before the flaw was detected.

WhatsApp has obviously fixed the vulnerability and directly reached out to the affected users. The lawsuit says that “Pegasus” software was used to hijack smartphones running on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry OS. It described the issue as, “A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allowed remote code execution via specially crafted series of RTCP packets sent to a target phone number.”

Reports claim Pegasus is exclusively sold to governments only and has been around for at least three years. It’s extremely sophisticated and attacks are exceedingly difficult to detect.

Clearly, NSO Group has disputed WhatsApp’s claims but we won’t know the full story until the lawsuit goes to trial.

In 2018, a confidant of Jamal Khashoggi was targeted in Canada with a fake package notification. Khashoggi was later tracked down and assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

India’s IT Ministry has sought a detailed response from WhatsApp before November 4.

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