Dubbed as Spice Dream Uno H, the phone is priced at Rs 6,499 and will run on a Hindi version of Android KitKat. It will also feature a Hindi keyboard, voice input and Hindi versions of Google services such as Chrome, Search, YouTube, Google Maps and Google Translate along with third party Hindi apps like Aajtak, Sony LIV and Hungama and Hindi variant of Spice’s cloud backup service Spice Cloud.
However contrary to what the company claims, this is not India’s first Hindi smartphone. Udupi based mobile app development company Robosoft had beat them to it much earlier, by launching Wiwos Super that offered support for five Indian languages including Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam, way back in April 2012. The phone was eventually discontinued, since Robosoft founder Rohit Bhat said it didn’t do particularly well from a market acceptance perspective.
Online vs Offline
What’s also worth noting is that this phone is not an online exclusive and is available through offline retail stores, unlike Spice Dream Uno which was a Flipkart exclusive. It’s possible this is because Spice is targeting a select Hindi-speaking audience for this phone, although we are reminded of a report that had suggested that offline retailers are refusing to sell Android One handsets in protest of Google’s decision to initially launch the handsets only through e-commerce platforms.
Sangeetha Mobiles MD Subhash Chandra had told the Economic Times that they have not stocked Android One handsets, since the company decided not to sell these handsets in physical stores during its launch. The MobileStore CEO Himanshu Chakrawarti had also told last month that Android One sales hasn’t really been promising and they are currently monitor the demand for 2-3 weeks before deciding whether to stock other Android One handsets or not.
(With Inputs from Vikas SN)
*Disclosure: Spice Digital is an advertiser with Medianama