Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
Indian e-commerce juggernaut Flipkart is getting busy in the mobile device market.
Today, it announced that it has teamed up with phone manufacturer Karbonn to launch a series of what it calls “budget smartphones” ranging from a mere Rs 2,699 ($45) to Rs 4,499 ($75). The smartphones are all dual-SIM and run on Android Jelly Bean or KitKat. Last week, the company stepped into the tablet space with the launch of its own Rs 9,999 ($166) seven-inch tablet, branded under Digiflip Pro.
There are two 2G phones in the series — the Karbonn Smart A50S and A52+, which both have screen sizes of 3.5 inches, are powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, run on Android Jelly Bean and have a two-megapixel camera. The former is cheaper (Rs 2,699) because it comes with 256MB RAM and a 1100 mAh battery, while the latter (Rs 3,099) has 512MB of RAM and is powered by a 1300 mAh battery.
Two 3G phones were also unveiled today — the Karbonn Smart A12 and A11. The former (Rs 4,099) has a screen size of 4 inches, while the latter (Rs 4,499) features a bigger display of 4.3 inches. Both are powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and a 1400 mAh battery, run on Android KitKat, and come with 512MB of RAM as well as a five-megapixel camera.
The phones are listed as “coming soon” on Flipkart, and it’s expected that they will be made available in the next few days. To attract its 18 million registered customers, Flipkart is also making cash-on-delivery available for these smartphone orders.
Flipkart has been stepping up its efforts recently to gain an even more solid footing in the Indian e-commerce space, as two US giants — Amazon and eBay — start to breathe down its neck. Last month, Flipkart acquired fellow e-commerce operator Myntra, which specializes in fashion and casual lifestyle products. Subsequently, it raised new funding pegged at $210 million.
The company previously said that it is branching out into mobile devices because its large user base gives it access to data to predict what kind of products can receive a warm welcome in the market — and in turn, help to boost its sales.
These Flipkart-Karbonn Android phones have been unveiled as Google last week revealed a new program called ‘Android One’ which will specify a set of hardware and software guidelines to adhere to if they want to be certified. The first devices are set to arrive in India from manufacturers including Karbonn and Micromax, and will start from less than $100 too.
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