“The top 20 list for the month of May 2014 is crowded by budget offerings”
Just when we thought that the Indian smartphone market will calm down after the whiz-bang launch of flagship smartphones from almost all tier-one manufacturers, Motorola had some other plans. However, a fast-growing mobile market like India isn’t likely to stop from buzzing with new launches. Even then, the launch of the Moto E definitely took everyone by surprise. With the Moto G (review | FAQs), the company proved that manufacturers needn’t compromise on specs in the mid-range and with the Moto E, it’s trying to ensure that people with feature phones (read dumb phones) can upgrade to a capable smartphone without breaking the bank. What’s even more interesting is that while the Moto E waged wars in the budget segment, Indian brands weren’t shy in replying back… and we saw some really good competitors from the likes of Micromax and Lava. But was the month only about budget devices? Let’s take a look at the top 20 devices in May and find out.
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The Top 5
Nokia’s plunge in the Android ecosystem definitely seems a risk well taken with the Nokia XL (first impressions) constantly featuring in our Top 20 list month after month. The largest of the trio of the Nokia X series, the XL has held its top spot since the past three months. It’s followed by the hottest device of the season, the Moto E, which made a stunning debut amongst the top devices. While Sony’s flagship, the Xperia Z2 (review) clung on to its third position, Samsung’s latest top-end phone, the Galaxy S5 (review | FAQs) dropped two spots to settle at the fourth place. The fifth position marks the entry of another budget device, the Nokia Lumia 630, jumping 17 spots in the month of May compared to April.
The complete list
As indicated by the top 5 devices in the month of May, the complete list also holds some surprises. So let’s take a gander at the top 20 devices in the previous month along with changes in their rankings, price bands and months of launch. A few of these devices are yet to launch, but based on their specifications and pricing in other countries, we’re indicating their price range.
Hits and misses
With a drastic change in the list of top 20 devices, there are bound to be some fresh additions and casualties that dropped off from the list. Here’s a look.
Moto E: 2nd position
If you’ve been following the ever-changing mobile space closely, you already know that the Moto E (review | FAQs) is a gamechanger in the budget segment much like its sibling, the Moto G. But unlike the Moto G, the Moto E has not only set a benchmark for budget smartphones, but also spawned off fierce competition in the form of offerings from homegrown brands, most notably the Micromax Unite 2 (first impressions | review in pictures) and Lava Iris X1 (first impressions).
Nokia Lumia 630: 5th position
The Lumia 630 (unboxing | FAQs) is a mid-tier offering from Nokia aimed at those who need dual-SIM capabilities. Yes, the Lumia 630 is the first Windows Phone smartphone with dual-SIM support thanks to the latest WP8.1 update. The first impressions of the device are fairly positive, and it’s well-priced for its specs, making it a viable option to those who want iconic Nokia quality with something that’s different from Android.
Panasonic P31: 6th position
Compared to other devices in the top 20 chart, the Panasonic P31 has jumped straight from 105th spot to reach this position. Placed in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment, the device offers a complete package in terms of its display and the internals. But more than that, the Japanese brand has been promoting the device and its special features such as Gesture Play aggressively on TV and other media.
BlackBerry Z3: 17th position
BlackBerry may not be in its best shape right now, but it’s products are still noteworthy. Its latest offering, the Z3 is yet to arrive on our shores, but the estimated pricing and decent specs have already piqued consumer interest. It was unveiled first during MWC and launched recently in Indonesia, and due to hit the Indian market soon.
Micromax Canvas Doodle 3: 20th position
It’s a little surprising that the Indian mobile phone market, along with other emerging countries, is driving the adoption of phablets, as also noted in our mobile phone landscape report for the year 2013. The Doodle series from leading Indian smartphone vendor Micromax is targeting exactly this segment, and the latest device in the series, the Doodle 3, offers consumers a massive 6-inch display for less than Rs 10,000.
With the debut of the aforesaid handsets, many devices also dropped out from our top 20 list.
- HTC One (M8)
- K Touch A11
- Moto G (16GB variant)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Nokia Lumia 520
Brand consciousness is waning off
If you’ve been following the story till now, it’s quite clear that the month of May threw up many changes in comparison to prior months. While our top 20 list usually includes six to seven brands, we have as many as ten brands with their offering(s) in the list this time around. Samsung is down to the least number of its cellphones in the list yet – five, including its latest flagship and its previous iteration, the Galaxy S4 along with devices in the affordable territory. Surprisingly, both Nokia and Sony stuck to the same number of devices featured compared to the month of April, with three of their devices each in the list. Apart from the obvious vendors, May also saw the debut of the Japanese brand, Panasonic in the list.
Price-to-value ratio is becoming more important that ever
One key reason of consumers being less conscious of brands is because they’re always looking to get more bang for their buck. And, as we can see from the price segment, it stands truer than ever with the top 20 names containing 12 devices in the affordable arena priced between Rs 5,000 to 15,000. Above this price segment (Rs 15,000 to 25,000), there are just four handsets with the remaining four in the premium tier of Rs 25,000 and above.
Based on these trends, we’re likely to see more number of smartphones in the entry-level segment priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 competing with the Moto E and trying to offer a no-compromise package to consumers.