In 2002, O2 showed us the Windows powered XDA Pocket PC and we knew that phones would never be the same again. While we should be puzzled on why we took half a decade after that to realise the power of a touch screen and even then call it a smartPHONE, we can say with certainty today that mobile computers are taking over the world. In over a decade of mobile evolution, this little gadget has proved itself to be a phenomenon beyond what we expected back in 2002.
Mobile is disrupting the world in more ways than we initially thought. It has either killed or rivaled a lot of other categories that was once a standalone technology. Music Player, watches, cameras & television / entertainment are just a few. Mobile as a technology has a profound impact today on instant messaging & communications, eCommerce, payments, transport, networking (social or not) & information consumption.
A large part of this global impact of mobile is availability of network and affordable mobile devices. This enables mobile to reach billions of individuals across the globe. Fortunately the stars have aligned such that India’s Internet economy, youth and affordable mobile devices + networks have all boomed in parallel at the same time. India is getting online on mobile faster and more powerfully than any other economy and this is why there are unique opportunities in India for mobile first businesses.
India is largely Android dominated market and it has allowed high performance devices at price points of below USD 100. Google has also done a fantastic job of getting the best maps, voice assistant, content providers as well as other local + global apps together on Android. As a smart companion, an Android phone is the best that we have today. Add to that the plethora of dual SIM & affordable phones by Asus, Xiaomi, Motorola, HTC, Micromax, Karbonn and others have really propelled the market.
At PriceBaba, we are intrigued by mobile. We love this revolution and this leads us to study how it is impacting the world. In an attempt to better understand the mobile ecosystem in India (which is primarily Android), we conducted two studies one in 2013 and one recently, in Dec 2014 to understand what versions of Android are Indian’s using and what devices are most popular for app consumption. While the 2013 report was motivated by the dominance of an older version of Android (Gingerbread), the 2014 report captures multi-fold growth in the mobile ecosystem.
A part of our mobile report is to study Android fragmentation and help app developers prepare for the landscape that India is offering. But let’s not forget that in a world without Android, we would be dealing with half-baked proprietary OSes by each manufacturer with no standardization. Android has done a great service to mobile ecosystem and while its rapid growth has led to problems of its own in terms of OEM customizations and various versions, the alternative is something we should still dread.
India Android Report 2014 & Findings
We worked with leading internet companies & app makers including Zomato, Feecharge, Gaana.com, CouponDunia, TaxiForSure, BookMyShow, TimesCity and IntouchApp to study over 30 million app downloads in India. Compared to 2013, this is a 30x increase in amount of data we got to study.
Some observations from the report:
- India has seen smartphone boom after Android has matured and thus share of Android 2.3 Gingerbread is almost negligible in India compared to ~10% globally
- Most App developers are okay to not support older versions of Android
- India is dominated by Android, but the second most important mobile platform is Microsoft’s Windows Phone
- The belief is that India is moving from a mobile first to mobile only market
- Motorola has made a good dent in the Indian market with value for money Dual SIM phones like the Moto G