Taiwanese tech major Asus on wednesday unveiled three new handsets under its 'ZenFone' range in the fiercely competitive affordable smartphone category in India to take head-on the likes of Moto G, Lumia 630, HTC Desire and Samsung's Duos.
Asus, which already sells tablets in India under Fonepad series, expects to sell 4-5 million smartphones next year as it builds its brand and focusses on increasing distribution.
"This year, we should sell about half a million smartphones. The focus right now is on increasing distribution and offering a good product at a good price point in India," ASUS Corporate Vice President Eric Chen told PTI.
Actor Arjun Kapoor at the launch of Asus phones in New Delhi. Photo: PTI / Shirish Shete
He added that the company expects to sell about a million units of tablets in 2015.
The three new smartphones -- ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6 -- are priced at Rs. 5,999, Rs. 9,999 and Rs. 16,999, respectively.
"In the next few months, we will spend a couple of million dollars towards various brand builidng and marketing initiatives," Chen said.
The A400CG features a 4-inch screen 1.2 GHz Intel Atom dual core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB memory (expandable upto 64GB), 0.3MP front camera, 5MP rear camera, 1600 mAh battery and Android JellyBean operating system (upgradable to the latest Android Kitkat OS).
The company will also introduce a 4.5-inch version, whose pricing was not disclosed, with similar specifications apart from 1750 mAh battery, 8MP rear camera and Android KitKat OS.
Asus said the five-inch ZenFone will come in two variants -- 8GB (priced at Rs. 9,999) and 16GB (not announced).
The dual micro SIM-devices sport 1.6 GHz Intel Atom dual core processor, 2GB RAM, 2MP front camera, 8MP rear camera, expandable memory of upto 64GB, 2110 mAh battery and Android JellyBean OS (upgradable to KitKat).
Apart from these features, the six-inch screen variant 'ZenFone 6' has a higher rear camera resolution of 13MP and a 3300 mAh battery.
Debjani Ghosh, Jerry Shen, Arjun Kapoor and Eric Chen, ASUS at the launch of the Asus phones in New Delhi. Photo: PTI / Shirish Shete
The company has also launched the Fonepad 7, a portable seven-inch palm-sized Android tablet.
The Indian smartphone market is witnessing strong competition between local and international players, all vying to grab a share of the multi-billion dollar market.
According to IDC, smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn.
In the first quarter of 2014, 17.59 million smartphones were shipped into India as compared to 6.14 million in the same period of 2013. Samsung was the market leader (35 % market share in Q1), followed by Micromax (15 %), Karbonn (10 %), LAVA (6 %) and Nokia(4 %).
Affordable smartphones, especially those priced in the sub-USD 200 category (Rs. 12,000), are doing well in the Indian market.