Who's going to pay so much for a high-end smartphone? Indians, that's who!

The high end smartphone market is set to explode in India, and many mobile manufacturers are going to get a piece of the action, not just Apple and Samsung.


CyberMedia Research (CMR) has reported that the high end smartphone market is set to grow in India. The report anticipates the entry of Gionee, Huawei, Vivo and Lenovo into the fray, which was so far a battle between Apple and Samsung. The key finding is that 70 percent of smartphone users will upgrade to a more expensive model than the one they own, but it's not just HTC, Sony or Apple models they are looking for. High end smartphones from Chinese companies will also be attracting these consumers.

This is awesome news. I'm just happy at the prices Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 are demanding. Other manufacturers are finally getting confident enough to demand prices as high as older Apple devices. As an early user of an Apple iPhone, I was exposed to all sorts of ridiculous questions, but these were more because of the price of the device, than its actual functionality. An owner of an animation company once told me that you could buy a flatscreen television for the cost of an iPhone. I wanted to say yes, but you cannot fit a flatscreen television in your pocket, but held my tongue.

This is basically a variant of "why is the phone worth so much, when you can get most of the functionality in half the price?" question. Another statement put out in the air was that people purchased expensive phones only for showing off, and not for utility. That is a judgement call I never understood, because there are so many static objects you can buy for showing off, can think of jewellery or designer clothes, and none of those decisions are questioned on the same lines.

In fact, it is considered ok to get anything just for showing off, as long as it is not a smartphone. When it came to Apple devices, as they were clear about what they were offering, there was never a inherent problem to users or the company because of the pricing. The pricing is going to be at a premium tier, and only those who want it, are going to buy them. Distribution is a bigger problem than demand. It is encouraging that so many manufacturers are getting competitive in the high-end segment in India, and that can only mean more hi-tech toys to drool over. It means the discussion around a smartphone will focus on the technology, and not get reduced to its price point.

These points tended to disrupt any discussion on smartphones, raised over and over in WhatsApp group conversations, comments sections on web sites, and internet forums. Now, finally, these derailing arguments seem to be going away. Sure, it may have taken so long because the technologies had to mature, the experience tasted on lower end devices, and a range of offerings being available in the high end segment. Now they are all here, and it is great.

People are discovering the worth of their devices. People are going to upgrade to better devices. People are starting to care about their smartphones, just like Micromax predicted in its Canvas 6 advertising campaign.

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