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NIKHIL VARMA
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Now, Indian companies are manufacturing mobile phones aimed at lower-end consumers

MANY FEATURES In local phones PHOTO: K. K. MUSTAFAH
MANY FEATURES In local phones PHOTO: K. K. MUSTAFAH

T hough our Internet penetration remains woefully low and broadband speeds are abysmal compared to the developed world, mobile telephony is an area where India has made massive strides, and the number of people owning handsets keeps increasing every day.

Over the past few years, the big names in the industry such as Nokia and Samsung have turned their attention to high-end mobile phones. These offer emailing and texting facilities and also serve as a computer, phone and television. In this scenario, where the talk is all about mobile phones with multiple features, Indian companies have begun to make their presence felt by launching phones aimed at the lower-end customers. “We must realise that more than 35 per cent of the country uses indigenously manufactured mobile phones. Most of these consumers are content with basic features, but face language problems,” says T.C. Sudhir, Executive Director of Teleworld United, manufacturer of WIWO mobiles. Sudhir, who was part of the team that developed this range of phones, explains, “Most of the users are not conversant with English or Hindi. They are unable to use the phones without guidance. We have incorporated a chip in the hardware that ensures the menu is available in the four South Indian languages, apart from English. This is a first as far as an Indian mobile company is concerned.”

He adds, “We are working to ensure that the facility will soon be extended to other Indian languages as well.”

Another feature that a WIWO phone offers is the ability to switch batteries and speaker phones. “With two batteries it offers excellent back-up. You could remove the battery and use it as a stereo jack. This will benefit customers who want to play loud music on the phone,” contends Sudhir.

The company also plans to incorporate multi-language texting options and the facility will be available in the phones in a couple of months.

NIKHIL VARMA

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