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Spice launches 5-inch, Android 4.0 phone

Domestic handset makerSMobility has announced the launch of its 'Stellar' range of devices, priced sub-Rs 12,000, as it aims to garner a larger share of the burgeoning smartphone segment in the country.

"The 'Stellar' range offers security as the unique proposition, promising protection against virus and data loss or theft on these Android devices. For this, the company has partnered with NQ Mobile, a leading mobile security provider," SMobility Global Head (Devices) Kunal Ahooja told reporters here.

SMobility has launched Spice Stellar, Spice Stellar Craze and Spice Stellar Horizon. While Spice Steller will be available across the country from today, the other two would be launched soon.

Spice Stellar runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and is upgradable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). It runs on a 1GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and has a 4-inch touchscreen. The smartphone has a 2000 mAh battery and a 5 megapixel autofocus camera. The smartphone is priced Rs 9,999.

Spice Stellar Horizon sports a 5-inch touchscreen and runs on Android 4.0 ICS. It packs in a 1 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a dedicated 300 MHz GPU. There's a 5MP auto focus camera with a 0.3MP front camera supporting video calling. Other key features, include dual-SIM capability, GPS/ AGPS and Wi-Fi tethering. Spice Stellar Horizon is priced at Rs 11,999 and will hit the retail market by the end of this month.

Spice Stellar Craze comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 800 MHz processor and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which is upgradable to Android 4.0 ICS. The smartphone is priced at Rs 6,499.

The smartphone category, which has traditionally been dominated by players like Samsung, Apple and Sony, is witnessing a lot of action lately as domestic companies like Micromax and S Mobility launch their devices to take on these multinational giants.

"We are focussing on evolving from a feature phone brand to a smartphone company. It will take us 2-3 years in the segment to make a mark as it will take time to assure people that our devices are as packed with capabilities as that from any other vendors," Ahooja said.

Smartphones are phones running on operating systems like Google's Android, Microsoft Windows and Apple's iOS among others.

The company had launched Android-based smartphones last year. This year, it plans to launch eight new devices under 'Stellar' as well as double its smartphones sales in the next couple of quarters.

He added that the company is eyeing sales of seven million handsets, including smartphones, this year in India from six million last year.

A company official said SMobility sells about 600,000 handsets in India a month, of which 30,000 are smartphones.

SMobility aims to double its smartphone sales to 60,000 a month over the next two quarters, he added.

According to a study by Research and Markets, smartphones are expected to account for about 25 per cent (with 73.4 million units) of the total Indian mobile phone market by 2015. It estimated that about 11.2 million smartphones were shipped to India in 2011.

The research firm said sales of smartphones in India will grow at 60 per cent annually on average till 2015, while overall mobile handset sales will grow at about 13 per cent per year.

India is the second largest mobile handset market in the world, after China, and is estimated to have grown by 15 per cent to touch $6.75 billion in revenues in 2010-11 from $5.88 billion a year back.

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