Undoubtedly India is the strongest market for mobile phones thanks to its fastest growing economy. It was in the year 1995, the first cellular network from Modi Groups were introduced in Kolkata. Soon cellular networks from other companies such as BPL, Orange (now Vodafone), Airtel, BSNL and Idea Cellular were introduced in all over India. Also, the first mobile phone was launched in 1995. The handset was produced by Micromax. Slowly other brands started making their way to the Indian market.
By the starting of the new millennium, Nokia had become the most popular cell phone manufacturers in India. In 2000, Nokia 3310 was the most desirable handset. It allowed users to send text messages, picture messages and make phone calls. It was a costly and bulky device. Soon slimmer phones like Nokia 2100 and Nokia 1100 started making their way in Indian market. Then in 2003, Nokia N-Gage (game-based phone) and Nokia 6600 (multimedia phone with a camera) were introduced.
Even though other brands like Motorola, Sony and Samsung had already penetrated the Indian market, at that time, Nokia did not have any competition. In 2005, multimedia phones from other brand like Motorola RAZR V3 and Samsung D500 appeared. However, Nokia’s N72 was quite popular compared to any other phone in 2005. In the same year Sony Ericsson K750 was unveiled which was also a very successful phone and they had also launched the popular Sony Ericsson W550 and W800 which belonged to the walkman series family.
In 2006, one of the best phones of all times from Nokia was surfaced. It was N95 which housed a 5MP camera and belonged to the elite N-series lines of phones from Nokia. Sony tried to stay on par with Nokia by launching W700 and W810i. Motorola also introduced couple of phones which included Motorola PEBL and Motorola SLVR but it could not pull down Nokia from the numero uno position. In 2007, LG revealed Viewty and Shine but it did not achieve many sales in India.
In 2007 and 2008, Apple came out with the first iPhone and then iPhone 3G in US but these iPhones were introduced very late in India and that too at a very expensive price. In the same year, one of the most popular music-based phones was rolled out by Nokia which was 5800 XpressMusic. After that a line of XpressMusic series were shipped in India. Even the business class E71 from Nokia became quite popular.
In 2009, Nokia N72 (business class phone) and BlackBerry 8250 were brought in India. BlackBerry slotted itself as business oriented phone manufacturer and their phones were mostly seen with people from the corporate world. LG Cookie also became quite popular. In this year, phones from lesser known brands like Spice, Micromax, Maxx, Lava, G-Five, Karbonn, MTS and ZTE started making way in India. And Samsung started gaining the market by launching affordable and feature entry-level phones.
2010 was the year when large-sized smartphones started penetrating in India. In 2010, the huge Motorola Milestone (Droid) was unveiled. HTC also showed up the HTC Desire. Sony came out with Xperia X10 Mini Pro and Samsung with Galaxy S. This marked the fall of Nokia. Still Nokia phone’s like the E6 released in 2011 were considered quite reliable. By 2011, Nokia had lost popularity as it replaced its Symbian OS with Windows Phone OS. In 2011, Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Y took over the market like a storm.
In 2012, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II completely devastated Nokia’s control over Indian market. Still, Nokia’s attempt to gain back lost ground through Windows Phone based Nokia Lumia phones like Lumia 520, Lumia 620, Lumia 720 and the powerful Nokia Lumia 920 have not been able to shake off Samsung from the number mobile phone brand in India. 2013 has already seen the release of topnotch smartphones like Sony Xperia Z, Micromax Canvas HD, and Lumia have already hit the Indian market. Now, the markets awaits the launch of popular phones like BlackBerry X10 (with new BlackBerry OS), Apple iPhone 4S, Apple iPhone 5, HTC One, and Galaxy S4.