Smartphone sales surges almost three-fold in India to 44 million

During the December quarter, Samsung maintained its leadership with a 38% share in the Indian smartphone market, followed by Micromax (16%), Karbonn (10%), Sony (5%) and Lava (4.7%), says IDC

Smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to over 44 million during 2013, buoyed by a strong uptake of affordable devices made by local companies such as Micromax and Karbonn.


According to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipments in India stood at 16.2 million in 2012. "India was one of the fastest-growing countries worldwide in terms of smartphone adoption in 2013. This surge has been mainly powered by home-grown vendors, which have shown a tremendous and consistent growth over the past four quarters of 2013," IDC said in a release.


Korean player Samsung maintained its leadership with a 38% share of the Indian smartphone market, followed by Micromax (16%), Karbonn (10%), Sony (5%) and Lava (4.7%) in Q4 2013.


There was a remarkable migration from feature phones to smartphones last year, primarily because of the narrowing price gaps between the two product categories, it added.


According to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. "Growth in the India market doesn't rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than $120," said Kiranjeet Kaur, senior market analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.


IDC research shows nearly half the mobile handsets sold across the world have retail prices of less than $100 without sales tax. Two thirds of those have prices of less than $50.


Overall phone shipments in the country rose 18% to about 257 million units in 2013 from 218 million units in the previous year.


"Growth in the smartphone segment is expected to outpace the overall handset market growth for the foreseeable future. The end-user shift towards mid-to-high screen size products will be amplified by the declining prices and availability of feature-rich localised product offerings," it said.


In the overall phone market, Samsung was the market leader with a 19% share in Q4 2013, followed by Micromax (13%), Nokia (12%), Karbonn (10%) and Lava (6%).


In the October-December 2013, vendors shipped 15.06 million smartphones compared with 5.35 million in Q4 2012. There was a spike in smartphone shipments by smaller domestic vendors such as Lava and Intex in the quarter.


"Growth in the smartphone market is being propelled by the launch of low-end, cost competitive devices by international and local vendors which are further narrowing the price gaps that exist between feature phones and smartphones," IDC India senior market analyst Manasi Yadav said.


International vendors have understood the importance of creating a diverse portfolio of devices at varied price points and are striving to launch cost competitive devices that cater to every segment in the target audience, IDC India Research Manager Kiran Kumar said.


The 5 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones (phablets) accounted for about 20% of the overall market in Q4.


The overall mobile phone market (feature and smart phones) stood at 67.83 million units in Q4 2013, up 16% year-on-year.


Many smartphone vendors have begun gearing up for this next wave of cost pressure. Samsung is increasingly switching production to Vietnam, where manufacturing costs currently undercut mainland China, IDC said.


Why are healthcare costs shooting up? - II

One of the reasons is the Bayh-Dole Act of the US, which allowed academic institutions supported by Federal grants to patent and license new products discovered by their faculty in return for royalties. This has created a nexus between academia and industry and doctors today have become puppets in the hands of the drug companies.

In the second part of this two-part article, I have explained how healthcare costs are shooting up due to the nexus between drug companies and academics. Let us examine why there is such a large nexus between the academia and the “for profit’ drug industry. For one thing, even hospitals have come under the ‘for-profit’ umbrella. It is argued that ties between industry and academia are necessary for “technology-transfer”, a word invented after 1980s, when the American government passed the Bayh-Dole Act which allowed academic institutions supported by Federal grants to patent and license new products discovered by their faculty in return for royalties. This law is cited when large-scale tie-ups go on between these two institutions. We follow that rule blindly in our country. The second reason given is that academic institutions needed the money very badly. These are the main reasons why we are where we are today. The business goals of the companies influence the mission of the research institutions and also influence their final results. 

Companies try and catch doctors very young when they are still house officers. Companies’ gifts are intended to buy the goodwill of young physicians with long prescribing lives ahead of them. The situation is similar in many areas where the industry uses the talent of the academia for their research.

In India, there is the recent mushrooming of CROs (clinical research organisations). The CROs are the brokers for the western drug companies to test their new molecules in the third world countries.  Many of the Western countries have banned such studies, especially, after the Northwick Park Hospital tragedy in London where, a single drug put all the volunteers into serious near fatal unknown adverse effect, costing the hospital millions of pounds! These CROs are a menace to us as we do not have the genuine informed consent in our set up. Most of our patients are still very poor and illiterate to understand the intricacies that are built into every new drug trial! I wonder if it is ethical to do such studies at all. Who cares for ethics these days, anyway?  

In fact, there are a few “researchers” who would not have seen a single patient all their lives, but profess to the world about the drug treatment of major illnesses. The companies mainly target those diseases that are likely to be life long business for them like diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease etc. There are many guidelines all over the world for the treatment of these diseases. If one takes care to carefully scrutinise them, one quickly realises how fallacious they are. To give an example of hypertension, there are six guidelines in all: we in India are trying to have our own guidelines, in addition. If all of them are computed together they cover just about 39% of the patients. For the rest there are no guidelines. Young, but enthusiastic, a doctor gets frustrated looking at these. If any of the guidelines are not convenient to the drug companies the companies get their “great brains” to refute them and have new guidelines. This happened with the American National Guidelines for high blood pressure management some time ago.

One could take any area for scrutiny. Anti-cholesterol drugs, anti-arrhythmic drugs, heart failure drugs, anti-hypertensive drugs, anti-diabetic drugs, pain killers, anti-cancer drugs or, for that matter, many of the procedures for surgical corrections and even some of the untested technologies like coronary care units, terminal care units, flow catheters and many other areas have their loads of skeletons in their cupboards. An unbiased audit would get these skeletons out of the cupboards. In fact, in a recent article in PLOSmedicine, Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal and the present editor of the Cases Journal in London, showed elegantly how doctors today have become just puppets in the hands of the drug company barons

“How much longer will medicine’s flagship educational events fly the colours of the drug industry”, asks Ray Moynihan, the editor of PLOSmedicine and goes on to add, “In the heart of Manhattan Island one misty morning a few years back, I watched as hundreds of psychiatrists streamed into their flagship educational event, the annual congress. Even before arriving they were welcomed by giant advertising billboards on the streets outside, plastered with the name of a major sponsor, Pfizer, the biggest drug company in the world and the maker of Zoloft, the world’s top selling antidepressant. Once inside, their first port of call was the huge exhibition hall, where well dressed salespeople moved among the high tech booths and hypnotic neon, exchanging pleasantries with doctors lining up to play video games and win prizes. And then, of course, there were the sponsored educational sessions. That year—2004—psychiatrists learnt about bipolar disorder over breakfast at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, courtesy of Eli Lilly. Over lunch at the Grand Hyatt they studied maternal depression, thanks to GlaxoSmithKline, and for dinner it was generalised anxiety disorder in the grand ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel, funded by Pfizer,” in a recent article in the BMJ.  

When the gulf between the industry and the academia narrows, as has happened now, medical students and house officers, under the constant tutelage of industry representatives have learned to rely on drugs and devices, more often than they should do. Young doctors learn that there is a pill for every ill and a surgical correction for every anatomic deviation from the normal. Faculty members could get distracted from their teaching commitments. Doctors get used to these company courtesies of receiving gifts and favours to further their continuing medical education. In this generation there is always an overemphasis on drugs and devices that could ultimately work against patient interests. The Hippocratic Oath really becomes “hypocrites’ oath”. 

It is time to do a bit of introspection before it is too late in the day for us do even that. We should see that we are not open to the charge that we are for sale. Academic medical schools should educate their students on the ills of the prevailing scenario and have to inculcate in their students the love for ethics and give them a good idea of pharmaco-economics and the ways of the business world that may be alien to them at that stage in life.

Let us not forget that 80% of the world population even today does not have any touch with modern medicine, 62% of upper middle class Americans cannot afford health insurance as the premia are sky high for them, 57% of Britons do wish to have alternative systems of medicine when they are ill, despite the fact that they have the free National Health Service. Let us also remember that patients could very well live without doctors, but doctors could never survive without patients!  For this write up I have drawn heavily from my articles published earlier on similar subjects in 2001 and 2006.

“People are never satisfied. If they have a little, they want more. If they have a lot, they want still more. Once they have more, they wish they could be happy with little, but are incapable of making the slightest effort in that direction.” - Anon.

Read part I of the article

Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London.)


INS Sindhuratna: Five Navy personnel hurt in accident near Mumbai

This is the 10th accident involving an Indian Navy warship and the third submarine mishap in the last seven months

Five Navy personnel were seriously injured Wednesday morning in a mishap involving the Russian-origin Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuratna off the coast of Mumbai.


INS Sindhuratna was involved in an exercise along the Mumbai harbour when a leakage in the battery compartment of the submarine occurred resulting in five personnel suffering suffocation, Navy sources told PTI.


The Navy personnel fell unconscious and had to be airlifted to the naval hospital INS Ashwini in Mumbai, they said.


This is the 10th accident involving an Indian Navy warship and the third submarine mishap concerning a kiloclass submarine in the last seven months. Last year 18 crew members died after a major fire broke out on INS Sindhurakshak.


The sources said a Board of Inquiry under a senior officer has been ordered to ascertain the reason behind the mishap.


A Navy spokesperson refused to comment on the issue.


It is learnt that a senior naval officer of the submarine wing was present on Sindhuratna when the incident took place, the sources said.


Around a month ago, INS Sindhughosh had a close shave when it entered the Mumbai harbour during a low-tide phase and was about to run aground.



shadi katyal

3 years ago

Our sympathies go to all those families who have lost their sons in such accidents.
The shame is that in this age of technology we are still behind in all our defence and other industrial development. We buy blindly outdated equipment while the world goes by. We loose well trained pilots in old planes and subs but beat goes on.
Why has no action been taken to let the joint venture with foreign companies come into play the part PROVIDED ANYONE WANTS TO JOIN.??? Why is that we are shooting ourselves in the foot all the time???
What kind of thinking we have that we continue to fail even in the protection of our nation.
Where are we going???

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