Microsoft’s India unit launched the first smartphones that will run on Window’s Mango operating system in India, to compete with Google’s android devices and Apple’s iPhone in the Indian smartphone market.
The Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones that are set to hit the Indian market include Radar, manufactured by HTC, which will be officially launched next week, and will be the first smartphone available in India to run on Mango. Other companies partnering with Microsoft for the Windows Phone are the local units of Nokia, Acer and Samsung Electronics, which are set to launch their versions of it in the next few months.
The biggest difference between the Windows Phone and an iPhone is that it’s focused on “people hubs” rather than apps. This is what Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India Pvt. was getting at when, at the launch of the Windows Phone, he said that the company aims “to create a new consumer experience by seamlessly integrating social networking with the other sought after functions like search, gaming, office and of course, social networking.” This basically means that it puts together your friends’ activities across platforms – Facebook, Twitter and so on.
[advt]Considering this will be the first Windows Phone in India – while other operators are already five models down the line or more – it is fair to say Microsoft has made a rather late entry into the market. Mr. Pramanik, however, said that it’s never too late for a launch in India, given the country’s growing appetite for smartphones.
To cater to its Indian users, the operating system aims to make it easy to download Bollywood music and Indian newspapers. It even includes voice recognition options for a variety of Indian accents.
The Windows Phone in India will be cheaper than the latest iPhone: HTC’s Radar will cost around 24,000 rupees ($490), compared with the iPhone 4, which in India costs around 34,500 rupees ($700).
In the future, cheaper Windows Phones – with price tags hovering around 19,000 rupees –are likely to be available in India, said Vikas Arora, who oversees marketing and sales at Microsoft India. At the same time, he warned that “phones in the lower price range might not be able to support all features.”