According to Frost & Sullivan, smartphones are expected to hit “a purple patch” in the Indian market, as consumers increasingly seek a single converged device to support multiple functionalities on the go. Smartphones cater to both individual and enterprise users due to their consumer- and productivity-centric approaches.

Analysts claim that the application development community and mobile operating systems participants are the key enablers of smartphone ecosystem, wherein users prefer a single point of access and management of content. In this scenario, product innovation and the application portfolio will be the primary market growth drivers.

"With Web 2.0 (social networking, microblogging) technologies gaining traction and the youth demographic keen on adopting smartphones, applications are expected to emerge as the key differentiating factor," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Thejaswi Parameshwaran.

"Touch screen technologies and customized interfaces in terms of innovative product features will also propel the market ahead."

With the urban markets having matured in terms of feature phone usage, numerous mobile users in this demographic are looking to upgrade to a smartphone. This replacement market will be predominantly populated by the younger demographic, which are early adopters of technology and avid users of Web 2.0 technologies.

"The smartphone ecosystem is looking to build a distinct identity in the application community with handset manufacturers, service providers, and operating system developers having content portals that enable consumers to access a wide variety of applications," notes Parameshwaran.

"However, over 70 percent of the population consumes only voice services, and data services have not yet gained traction, which can slow down the adoption rates of smartphones."

To compound participants’ issues, the existing data bandwidth is insufficient to support data-intensive applications. They are hoping to remedy this issue and support smartphone-based applications by deploying high-speed 3G networks, as Frost & Sullivan claims.

According to the report, in a highly competitive market where handset manufacturers and service providers vie for subscribers, a comprehensive value proposition is likely to be the factor that will tip the scales. Both these stakeholders will be aiming to lure consumers with an end-to-end service offering, significant investment in product R&D, and attractive revenue sharing agreements with content developers.

Meanwhile, with the emergence of open source operating systems, there is a paradigm shift toward a collaborative ecosystem, wherein participants leverage each other’s expertise. This has fostered an environment of strategic alliances that will help offer a one-stop shop for handsets, data plans, and the point of access for an application ecosystem.

"All participants of the ecosystem will have to collaborate to develop an end-to-end value proposition that will engage consumers and thereby, increase customer loyalty and satisfaction," observes Parameshwaran.

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