Having largely ignored the mid and entry-level segments of the smartphone industry for long, Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has seemingly woken up to the changing dynamics within the industry. With most supposedly mid-range devices priced at around $300 – $400 dollars managing to more than hold their own against the big boys both in terms of hardware performance and software features, customers are increasingly turning their attention to comparatively more pocket-friendly smartphones, without really compromising a whole lot in terms of functionality. While this change in consumer mindset has mostly been a global phenomenon, its effects have been felt most acutely in emerging economies like India and China, which has resulted in erstwhile incumbents like Samsung, Sony and HTC losing severe chunks of the market to upstarts like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Asus, Micromax and the likes.
Reports now indicate that Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony now intends to do something about its fast-eroding market share in the world’s third largest smartphone market – India. If reports in the Indian media are to be believed, the company will soon start making smartphones in the country. Many smartphone vendors of late are not just setting up shop in India, but starting to manufacture smartphones and other electronics in the country to take advantage of tax-breaks (to the tune of 6.5 percent, apparently) being offered by the federal government to the manufacturing sector. While Samsung and LG already operate manufacturing facilities for smartphones and other electronic gadgets and appliances in the country for over a decade now, newcomers to the industry like Xiaomi and Asus have already started getting their handsets manufactured in India by Foxconn at its facilities in Vishakhapatnam, Chennai and elsewhere. HTC and Lenovo have also recently started manufacturing smartphones in the country.
While Sony was rumored to start its smartphone production in the country at some stage during this year or next, the current report carried by India’s most circulated financial journal, Economic Times, seem to indicate that ‘Made in India’ smartphones under the Sony branding will come sooner than many in the country would have anticipated. As for the report, anonymous sources quoted by ET have claimed that Sony will release these handsets by the end of the year, and that the handsets manufactured in the country will also include a couple of devices in the sub-$150 bracket, which will ostensibly enable Sony to better compete with local vendors like Micromax, Karbonn, Xolo and Intex, who earn significantly more than companies like Sony and HTC in the country.