Note that currently Google has Android Nation Stores set up only in Indonesia, thus making India the second market to get Google’s Android Nation. Currently, Spice has 900 hotspots and it plans to convert 50 of those hotspots into Android Nation, as indicated by the report.
For the uninitiated, Android Nation offers Android OS experience in its retail stores and lets users experience Android phone, tablets, check out Android apps, and shop these devices. The shops also has a menu filled with QR codes besides app icons, letting users explore new apps, as indicated by a Tech In Asia report. While the Indonesian Android Nation stores offers Android devices by international brands such as Samsung, HTC, LG, among others, we hope that the Android Nation in India will also offer Android devices by local companies along with international brands.
The report also notes that Spice Global will further extend Android Nation retail stores to the Middle East, Malaysia, Thailand, and Africa. Besides this, Google will help bring Chinese Smartphone brand CoolPad to India, co-branded as Spice CoolPad to be sold through Android Nation.
Retail Strategy: Consumers in India prefer to physically check out a device before making a purchase. However, many a times the retailers are not able to provide details about the Android experience or why one should buy an Android based phone over any other mobile OS. Android Nation can solve this issue as it will have trained Android employees who can assist consumers with any help with Android devices.
This is the same strategy Nokia applied with its Nokia Priority stores across the country. Apple also has its Apple retail stores where it allows consumers to experience Apple products before making a purchase. Apple does not have its retails stores in India yet, however, it is apparently planning to increase the number of exclusive franchisee stores in the country from the existing 65 stores to 200 stores by 2015. Some of the exclusive franchisee stores, also called as Apple Premium Resellers, in India include Reliance Digital’s iStore, Ample Technologies’s Imagine Store, Consolidated Premium Retailers’s iPlanet and Maple Digital Technology International among others.
Microsoft too has 68 standalone Microsoft stores in North America. It also recently partnered with Best Buy to launch its Windows Stores inside 500 Best Buy stores in the US and 100 in Canada. Samsung and BlackBerry also have their flagship stores in the country.
According to Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker, estimated that India will have 67 million smartphone subscribers by the end of 2013. This gives Google a tremendous opportunity to grow its Android user base.
Google Nexus Program: It’s not clear whether Android devices under Google’s Nexus brand will be available through Android Nation retail stores. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt had recently said that Google wants to fully service the market. We hope this will lead to faster launches.
Partnership with RCOM: In 2012, Google had inked a two year deal with RCOM to promote Android handsets in India. It offered customized 3G plans for Android handsets. Another telecom operator, Idea, taking a different approach has launched about 4-5 mid level Android handsets in India since last year. Following the partnership with Google, during the Q1 FY13, RCOM had reported that it had seen a significant increase in Android handsets on its networking.
In March 2013, Reliance Communications, the Reliance ADAG owned telecom company had partnered with Lenovo to launch Android based GSM-CDMA smartphones in India by March 2013. However, we are yet to see these Android handsets in India.