September saw the launch of three phones under Google’s Android one project – a move aimed at providing the cheapest phones with the best specs to people.
The main targets were emerging markets in developing countries like India.
These devices include the Spice Android One Dream, Karbonn Sparkle V, and Micromax Canvas A1.
These phones had same specs. All three were laced with 4.5 inches screens that provide a display resolution of 480 x 854 pixels.
They also have Quad core 1.3 GHz MediaTek SoC processor with 1 GB RAM and an on board memory of 4GB.
The devices are priced rather less at about $100 only. Most phones were sold only through online channels like Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal.
Something seems to have gone wrong with the marketing strategy here. Google only placed these phones online which did sell a few odd units, but bulk orders were not placed by wholesalers.
Experts state that only 12% of Indians buy handsets online. Perhaps they should have delivered the handsets to brick and mortar stores first.
Now, as a later realization, the hardware partners, Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice have finally started pushing off the devices to the retail stores, but owing to the weak online sales, retailers like Croma, Future Group, Planet MRetail and Next Retail, BigC,Lot Mobiles, Reliance Retail and Sangeetha Mobiles, that have around 1800 stores under their wing, have decided not to keep stocks of these phones in their stores.
This happened due to two reasons, firstly because initially, when the Android one manufacturers decided against selling them in physical outlets, the outlet owners were dissatisfied.
Now that the game has turned against the companies, the retailers wish to respond in the same way by refusing to stock these phones. Secondly, the profit margin that most mobiles in the country are sold at is 9 to 10%, whereas the Android One mobiles would have this sold only at 3 to 4% margin, which is not lucrative enough for the sellers.
Also, they feel that this low range has already got many more contenders so there is hardly any chance of the sales taking a boost or of the phones winning people’s commendation.
However, the manufacturers have reported growth in sales offline.
Spice has been able to log a sale of 100,000 handsets of which 80% were online sales, Karbonn sells about 3000 offline units as compared to 500 online units. Micromax has not said anything about this.