Two of the biggest smartphones of all time will make its way into the markets this season. The Nokia N97
and the Apple iPhone 3GS. At one end there is the biggest manufacturer of cellphones in the world, who has shipped over a billion phones into our pockets till date whereas on the other corner we have the Cupertino based PC giant which is best known to present innovative technology.
While tech pundits around the globe sit down and crack their heads to decide weather the Nokia N97 beats the iPhone 3GS, the result is pretty clear for us here in India. Nokia N97 walks away with the masses easily! The Apple iPhone 3GS though a very capable smartphone, its commercial success in India is highly unlikely for a majority of reasons, starting with the price!
In India you cannot convince the Janta to buy a Rs 30000 phone without offering them the option to transfer ringtones (and the OTHER things) over bluetooth :P . Lack of OBEX is one of the few things that Apple keeps away from the iTouch (iPod Touch / iPhone) platform. Apple uses its proprietory 30pin dock instead of the now industry standard MicroUSB, you cannot use the GB's of memory in the iPhone as a portable HDD for data storage, the camera doesn't carry a flash and handwriting recognition is absent. While Nokia scores with a large base of E-series and N-series users in India, all ready to hop on to the N97.
Apple may also blame the Indian media for reporting the iPhone incorrectly for 2 years in a row now. ATT sells the iPhone 3G in US for $99 with a 2yr contract; thus subsidizing a $599 phone. However the Indian media proudly tells on national TV that the new price of the iPhone 3G is now Rs 5000 equivalent, the same launches here for over Rs 30000 (contract phones aren't a culture in India yet). This discrimination in price is enough for several users to let go the iPhone in India hoping for a friend to get them a US version for $99/$199, which doesn't happen for most.
Personally the iPhone lover inside me is disappointed to see that people cannot see the wonderful UI and web integration pioneered by Apple. In India SRK+Nokia sells! And with the N97 this trend would continue ;)
"A technology lover who wakes up every morning with a wish to see new gadgets, Annkur P Agarwal is the Editor of the OnlyGizmos Network and an e-commerce consultant based in Mumbai."