As smartphones gain consumer preference in India, mobile brands are opening up to a larger range of operating systems. This will give them flexibility on the applications they can offer with their handsets.
“With the growing penetration of smartphones, the industry wants to reduce dependency on a single operating system (OS),” said Deepak Halan, group business director, IMRB International.
The emerging heterogeneity of needs in the market cannot be satisfied by any single OS. Besides, a mobile brand offering multiple OS options helps it convey a technologically advanced perception.
Naveen Mishra, lead analyst, telecom research, IDC India, said, "The market is dominated by Symbian OS-based smartphones, which had a share of 85 per cent in unit shipments in the April-June 2010 quarter. However, many vendors are launching Android OS-based models, which will fuel demand for Android based applications."
Samsung recently launched its own proprietary operating system — Bada — offering more features. Nokia, which has been offering the Symbian OS, recently launched the Linux-based Maemo and will launch its Symbian version 3 soon. Dell has launched 2.1 Android-based phones and plans 2.2 version phones soon. It has also tied up with Microsoft for Windows 7.
In India, the top five OSs in Q2, 2010, according to IDC, were Symbian, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Linux, in that order. iPhone, Touchwiz and Palm are also available.
According to IDC, there are about 2.5 million smartphones in India already and with the launch of 3G, the numbers will shoot up. India is already the third largest smartphone – enterprise and high-end multimedia devices combined – market in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan and China.
Frost & Sullivan expects that by 2015, 54 per cent of all devices sold in the Asia Pacific region will be smartphones.
The latest OSs are enabling brands to tap executives and trendy urban youth with the same device. “We follow a multi-platform strategy, focusing on open OS mobiles. Key characteristics such as mobile internet, messaging features, strong third party applications and flexibility for customisation of such phones are becoming relevant across user groups,” said Ranjit Yadav, director IT & mobile, Samsung India.