As per a report, Handset makers, Itel and Karbonn, are now working to develop apps for low-cost and feature phones as smartphones sales in India have slowed down a bit.
Itel, the leading feature phone brand in Africa, is already No. 2 in the overall mobile market in India in less than a year after entering the country in May. “We’re developing a chat messenger called OnChat, which works like a WhatsApp for feature phones that allow users to send and receive text messages for free, but does not allow transfer of files or pictures,” Kumar said to ET.
Domestic firm Karbonn is also looking forward to focusing on applications for rural use on its 4G VoLTE (voice over LTE) feature phone which is set to be launched by the next quarter.
Samsung is also betting big on its feature phones though the firm is not developing apps on its own. As per Samsung, apps such as Facebook Lite, Samsung Apps, GP Racing, Mortal Kombat and 11 other Java-based games are leading the most downloaded charts.
Truecaller is one of the first companies that developed an app for the feature phone. The app can now also be used on the phone that doesn’t use the internet, it informs users ID via text message before the call lands.
As per IDC data, India’s feature phone market has surprised analysts and the industry by holdings its own despite several predictions of its eventual oblivion. About 137.5 million feature phones are expected to be shipped into India in 2017, making up 53% of the overall market, up from 136.1 million that were shipped in 2016.
Due to the high usage of low-cost phones in the country, the Indian government also launched UPI service for the offline users making transactions easier by using USSD code.