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Google planning Android stores in India

business Updated: Jun 21, 2013 12:32 IST

The search giant wants to open up to 50 Android Nation stores in India to promote its smartphone operating system and to sell Android devices.

The bricks-and-mortar stores will be created in partnership with Spice Global, an Indian electronics retailer and, according to the Economic Times, will sell Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and ASUS smartphones and tablets.

But as well as devices, the stores will also operate as "Android experience centers" where Indian consumers can come to try out the operating system and pick the brains of Android experts. They will also be able to get help with setting up devices, be able to download software and test the latest apps.

The first store is expected to open in New Delhi later this year -- Google is said to have been actively sourcing a 1200-1500 sq ft (110-140 sq m) retail space -- while a number of the additional stores will be created by converting existing Spice Global Hotspot shops (the Economic Times claims that there are currently 900 Hotspot stores across the country).

However, India is just the first step of a larger plan to bring Android Nation stores to a number of major Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

In forming a partnership with a local company, Google is following in the footsteps of Apple, Microsoft and Amazon which, due to the country's restrictive laws regarding how much foreign companies can invest directly in, or how they establish a physical presence in the country, have sought local companies and franchises to extend their reach.

In March it was reported that Apple was gearing up to open a further 65 Indian franchises while earlier this month, Amazon confirmed that it would finally start selling its Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle eReaders in the country, starting on June 27.