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eMarketer forecasts that there will be over 110 million smartphone users in India by the end of 2013—but that’s just the beginning. India will top 1 billion mobile connections for the first time this year, eMarketer estimates, and many of those users will be eager to convert from feature phones to smartphones. The behavior of this burgeoning user population could have big implications for the smartphone industry.
In October 2012, Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights surveyed 10,000 smartphone owners across 46 cities in India about their mobile habits. The study found that smartphones running the Android operating system commanded 62% of the market. The Symbian OS was the next most popular, found on 21% of respondents’ smartphones, followed by OS offerings from Microsoft. Apple’s iOS was cited by just 1% of respondents.
A separate analysis by Canalys of worldwide smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012 underscored Android’s global advantage. Canalys found that 69.2% of phones shipped that quarter used the Android OS. Apple, however, is much stronger globally than it is in India; it accounted for 22.1% of shipments worldwide.
The Nielsen study also found that in India, urban consumers’ appetite for smart mobile devices has extended to tablets. While just 3% of respondents reported owning one at the time of the survey, 11% said it was their intention to purchase one.
Still, even as smart device users in India take greater advantage of robust offerings on mobile, it’s notable that mobile internet penetration on smartphones remains low, with only half of smartphones users reporting that they had mobile internet access.
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