Spice to bring Firefox, Android One phones before Diwali

Homegrown handset maker Spice on Wednesday said it will bring the much-awaited Rs 1,500-Firefox and Rs 6,000-Android One smartphones to India before Diwali.

New Delhi: Homegrown handset maker Spice on Wednesday said it will bring the much-awaited Rs 1,500-Firefox and Rs 6,000-Android One smartphones to India before Diwali.

Earlier this year, Mozilla (developer of Firefox web browser) had tied up with Indian firms -- Intex and Spice -- to bring smartphones priced at USD 25 (about Rs 1,500) to India.

Similarly, under the Android One initiative, Google has partnered Spice, Micromax and Karbonn from India to deliver a smartphone under USD 100 (about Rs 6,000).

Both the handsets are expected to fuel further competition in the world's fastest growing smartphone market.

"We will have the handsets in before Diwali. These phones are designed for driving connectivity at affordable prices. We were chosen for our innovation, we are among the chosen few to work with these global giants to bring these devices to India," Spice Retail CEO Devices T M Ramakrishnan told PTI.

Spice is aiming to grow its revenues in the country by over 40 percent to Rs 2,000 crore this fiscal, buoyed by the strong growth in its smartphone business.

"Last year, our revenues were Rs 1,400 crore and this year, we expect it to grow Rs 2,000 crore (fiscal ending June 2015). We expect to grow our market share to over 4 percent from about 2.2 percent now," he said.

Ramakrishnan added that the numbers could change depending on the response to the new devices coming in.

Smartphone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn, according to research firm IDC.

In the first quarter of 2014, 17.59 million smartphones were shipped in India compared with 6.14 million in the same period of 2013.

While Samsung is the category leader with a 35 percent market share, Micromax had 15 percent, Karbonn 10 percent, LAVA 6 percent and Nokia 4 percent in Q1, IDC said.

Low-cost handsets prices less than Rs 5,000 and smartphones not costing more than Rs 7,000 from Asian handset makers including Huawei, ZTE, Micromax and Karbonn have been driving growth in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa.

Spice will also invest Rs 160 crore during the fiscal (July 2014-June 2015) for various advertising and marketing campaigns.

"About 85 percent of our portfolio is priced under Rs 8,000. We are focussed on tier II and III cities and towns. Though we have higher priced models as well, but we are seeing very high growth rates between 250-300 percent in the smaller markets," he said.

The company today launched two new smartphones -- Stellar 520 and Stellar 526 -- priced at Rs 8,999 and Rs 11,499, respectively.

The 3G dual SIM Stellar 526 features a 1.5 GHz True hexacore processor, the latest Android Kitkat operating system, five inch IPS HD display, 1GB RAM, 8GB memory (expandable upto 32GB), 8MP rear camera, 3.2 MP front camera and 2500 mAh battery.

The Stellar 520 has 1.3GHz quad core processor, Android Kitkat OS, five-inch screen, 8MP rear camera, front-facing 2 MP camera and 2,000 mAh Battery.

"We aim at intensifying our customer base and build on customer loyalty. We have always strived to bring devices that are not budget heavy and we are sure these will create ripples in the domestic smartphone space," he said.