Samsung Galaxy S6 India launch: Why taking on Apple makes little sensehttps://indianexpress.com/article/technology/mobile-tabs/samsung-vs-apple-in-india-the-fight-for-that-1-per-cent-premium-share/

Samsung Galaxy S6 India launch: Why taking on Apple makes little sense

Samsung's new “metal and glass” devices “build from scratch” still run the same TouchWiz UI.

Samsung, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 India, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung’s new “metal and glass” devices “build from scratch” still run the same TouchWiz UI. (Source: Express Photo by Debashis Sarkar)

It seemed Samsung was clearly not satisfied with their attempt to make a mockery of Apple at their Galaxy Unpacked Event ahead of MWC 2015 in Barcelona. At this week’s New Delhi launch event of Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, a mere repeat telecast of the MWC event but spearheaded by the Samsung India team this time, the Korean electronics giant did the same again, i.e. boast how much better the new S6 devices are than the iPhone 6.

READ: First impressions of Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge

SEE: [Pictures] Check out the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge 

At a global stage like MWC, jibes like “so tough that it will not bend” and “camera is X times better than iPhone 6″ might make sense. However, these punchlines don’t cut much ice in the Indian market. One because this is not an Apple-heavy market and two the audience of journalists, having seen and read all about the new phones, was only bothered about the local price of the flagships.

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Samsung India VP Asim Warsi puts it in perspective: “The premium smartphone market in India by contribution is close to about 20 per cent in terms of value and barely about a per cent in terms of sales volume.” And Apple has only a share of that pie. So does it make sense focusing your energies on this one brand in India?

Samsung might still boast being numero uno in the Indian smartphone market, but they are finding it tough to hold on to their market share if the analysts are to be believed. Still, unlike other brands, Samsung is not that keen on pushing the budget and mid-range smartphone segment. Incidentally, Samsung’s mid-range smartphones, which helped the company become No. 1 in India, no longer gets the pride of place in its launch schedule.

At the event, Samsung also announced that they would be manufacturing the new flagships in India soon. Well, that might sound great, especially from a Make in India perspective. But the fact is that Samsung has been making some phones here for the past seven years, though mostly for domestic consumption. It will be the first time a flagship phone will be made, or even assembled, in India. But we are pretty sure the S6 models made in India will be only for domestic sales.

Also, there is not much to cheer for the Indian customers as made in India will not mean an Indian price point. Warsi replied, “We have been manufacturing over seven years in India and we see that the said pricing will stay for a significant period of time to come forward.” So, customers shouldn’t expect a cheaper price tag for locally made S6 units. Plus, you have to really evaluate the fact whether you would like to see Made in Korea, Made in China or Made in India on a phone?

So what can we expect from the ‘Made in India’ tag? Deepesh Shah, head of Samsung’s R&D in India explains: “The S6 has personalisation experience that Indians can enjoy along with multi-language support.” When pressed for a more specific answer, Shah said: “Indian consumers are pretty much global and they enjoy global products.” So no luck with a customised local UI like the ones even Micromax and Lava has been offering its customers for years.

Also, do you really expect to take on Apple with a Made in India phone you wouldn’t sell beyond the subcontinent?

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