Windows Phone is something little different from Android and iOS when it comes to looks, feel and hardware. India, being one of the largest market for Windows Phone, sees many twists and turns in the OS and the public response when someone says Windows Phone. Myself, being an Indian and a Windows Phone fan decided to survey the market and understand what actually Windows Phone means to Indians. Below are some of the categories or issues which Windows Phone faces in India.
Mindset of the Indians:
The biggest problem or hurdle for Windows Phone is the mindset of Indians. Windows Phone had a rough start as Windows Phone 7.5 and 7.8 lacked basic features. Windows Phone 8 too had many features missing from the OS versus what was available under Android and iOS platform at that time. This created problems here in India. The people got a mindset that Windows Phone is of no use and it is a trash OS. This made people divert from Windows Phone towards low-cost Android which is rather an open OS.
We are entering 2015 and still if you tell a typical Indian about Windows Phone then they will instantly react saying the device is waste of money. People still have the same mentality for the OS and they tend to move towards Android.
Affording Capacity and Budget Orientations:
Indians are pretty budget orientated people when it comes towards buying a smartphone. They are the ones who want everything in a sub $100 device. This is where Windows Phone lacks. While the Android range of devices start from about $30-$40 or so we don’t have a good Windows Phone under $100 in India, though a recent price fall of Lumia 630 over India’s largest E-Commerce website, Flipkart made it available under $100.
Due to the problem of no good low-priced device in India, Android beats Windows Phone again. Local companies like Micromax and Karbonn tried to get over this gap but they were unsuccessful because of the lack of after sales support and no Nokia exclusive apps like Here collection and MixRadio.
This is one area where everyone knows that Windows Phone lacks but not for at least Indian companies as they are consistently releasing and updating their Windows Phone apps. If you look wider however, we have apps like SnapChat missing and other social apps like Facebook and Twitter don’t have a good pace of updates. Instagram is still in BETA stage and has never been updated for more than a year also.
Perception of Android users towards Windows Phone:
We have a lot of Android users in India. Android users account to about more than 90% of the total smartphone users in India. The number is still growing for Android. In this case, the perception of Android users count much for the new buyer.
If I go straight towards the answer then it would be that Android users are too possessive towards their smartphone and Android. They will always talk about the merits of the device and take Windows Phone out of the picture. They try to rule out all the other platforms. Windows Phone users on the other hand failed to impress the Android ones because of the limitations forced by Microsoft.
In short we actually have a cold war in India between the Android and Windows Phone users with iOS generally out of consideration.
The problem of following the herd in Indians:
We Indians have a very bad habit of copying something we just saw with someone. This goes in the case of smartphones too. As we have a biggest share in Android platform, people tend to find and buy the same device without understanding their own needs and usefulness. This habit kills Windows Phone again in India as people find the same Android devices and buy them just to show off to someone.
Why not Android or iOS? or Why Windows Phone?
This is one of the most asked question by Indians when they see someone with Windows Phone. Indians can’t get off with the Windows Phone OS instead of Android or iOS. People tend to ask and say too many things about the Windows Phone platform making the buyer feel guilty and make them ask themselves why they choose Windows Phone over Android or iOS.
Hardware is the key for Indians:
Indians just want more hardware specifications on their devices. They don’t understand the Software difference between the platforms. The reason for this is the less knowledge of Indians for the technology. Windows Phone is the lightest OS available so it can run on low hardware specs while other platforms like Android need more powerful hardware to run the OS. People just don’t understand this and compare both of them. Seeing powerful hardware they go with Android instead of understanding the fact that Windows Phone need less hardware to run smoothly.
Every coin has two sides:
Enough under estimation of Windows Phone. We have some of the good reason why people these days are considering Windows Phone in emerging markets like India. One of the biggest advantage which Windows Phone gets is the ‘NOKIA’ brand. Indians trust Nokia with a blind eye. This gives Windows Phone a good advantage over others. And as Microsoft bought Nokia so Indians adopted a blind faith in Microsoft too. Hence, the re-branding of Microsoft on devices turned on the brighter side in India as people preferred the Lumia 535 with the Microsoft branding more than others even the ones with Nokia branding. Another achievement which Nokia and Microsoft jointly got in India few months ago was overtaking iOS to become the second largest OS in India after Android.
Another thing which Indians love in Windows Phone is the camera suite. Windows Phone packs some of the most advance camera apps which makes it the ideal device for mobile photography. Nokia Lumia 1020 packed a 41 MP camera which is used by some of the professionals in India just for advance photography and editing purposes. The Nokia Lumia 730 also became a hit device just because of the 5 MP wide-angle front camera which was capable of clicking great selfies. Lumia Selfie app added a charm to the selfie device and Indians loved it.
Another factor that plays an important role for Indians is the durability. Nokia’s iconic design and the toughness makes it the first preference for people working under worst situations. Indians love the device which can last in their hands for a minimum span of 2-3 years. Nokia tops again for their choice in this.
Next comes the service and trust. This is the part where Nokia scores full marks as Nokia has gained proper and perfect trust in India and it provides after sales services in even the remote villages of India.
Finally I am winding up this article so want to summarize. In short Microsoft need to educate the customers about the advantages of Windows Phone. People will like this OS but someone needs to work hard to change their mindsets. People are possessive towards Android and iOS which shuts Windows Phone out of the market. I agree that Windows Phone has some of the issues and limitations but this is often a good thing. Leaving a OS open makes it vulnerable to Malwares and Viruses and also makes it easy for someone to commit a fraud with users via the medium of apps.
Windows Phone is one of the classiest OS if used well. It will take some time for the user to understand it but once they do it, Windows Phone is fun. Microsoft should continue to work on attracting developers so that it can get its consumers satisfied because apps are the lifeline of smartphone.
I hope 2015 brings some great things for Microsoft and Windows Phone. The new Windows Phone 10 is rumored to fix all the limitations. We hope it does so that Microsoft gains a good amount of market share again.