Demand for both smartphones and feature phones in India is still on the rise, according to Sanjay Kalirona, the Chief Executive Officer at Zen Mobile, an Indian manufacturer of affordable cell phones. In a recent interview with Tech2, Kalirona explained how the Noida-based company sees future potential in both aspects of the phone industry. Zen Mobile's executive pointed out how close to 65% of the phone market in India still belongs to feature phones, adding that users' transition to smartphones has slowed down in recent months. In fact, Zen Mobile doubled its total shipments during the last quarter of the year thanks to the increased demand for feature phones, Kalirona revealed. Regardless, he still expects that smartphone demand will pick up in 2017 as the company is looking to continue serving all market tiers in the country.
While Zen Mobile certainly isn't troubled by the popularity of feature phones in India seeing how the company is making money thanks to it, the consumer electronics manufacturer still has plans to improve smartphone adoption rate in the country over the course of 2017. A crucial aspect of that strategy is launching devices localized in numerous Indian languages, including those mostly spoken in poorer parts of the country where demand for feature phones has traditionally been higher. As a part of that endeavor, Zen Mobile recently introduced several 4G smartphones like the Admire Dragon, Admire Thrill, and Cinema Click.
Launching more fully fledged smartphones and promoting a transition from feature phones is Zen Mobile's long-term strategy, as Kalirona explained that most of the company's revenue growth in 2017 is projected to be driven by its smartphone portfolio. However, the company's CEO explicitly stated that feature phones "are here to stay" because Indians living in rural areas and small towns simply won't be able to afford smartphones for the foreseeable future. Due to that state of affairs, Zen Mobile is adamant to continue supporting its existing feature phones and introducing new apps for them. Ultimately, while the Noida-based company is planning to increase its smartphone push in 2017 to compete with both domestic and Chinese phone makers, it's still focused on delivering affordable cell phones for all market tiers and further strengthening its presence in India.