Google to open Android Nation stores
Google is preparing a retail onslaught in India, when it opens its third-ever Android Nation store in Delhi later this year. Teaming up with Singapore-based company Spice Global, the store will open in the capital’s Select Citywalk Mall. The first Android Nation store opened in Jakarta last year and was soon followed by another in the city.
The Economic Times reported that Android Nation will market and sell Android devices made by the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG, as well as manufacturers that have yet to open operations in India. One example, is Coolpad, which is the third largest smartphone brand in China. Spice will be selling phones under the Spice Coolpad brand when the store opens.
One of the Android Nation stores in Jakarta
Spice Global already has a healthy retail presence in the country and currently about 900 Spice Hotspots sell devices. In addition, the company also has a range of Android-based smartphones. BK Modi, chairman of the group, told the publication that around 50 of these Hotspots will be converted into Android Nation stores to enable rapid expansion of the brand. The Indian chain of stores will be headed by the chairman’s son, Dilip Modi.
India is only the second country after Indonesia to get Android Nation stores, a decision that underlines the Google’s interest in the country’s largely-untapped smartphone market. Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt on his recent visit to the country spoke about how the internet revolution could bypass India unless the Indian leadership initialises fast and free internet for the country. The challenge, according to Schmidt, was bringing connectivity the majority of those without internet. And of course, mobile data was floated around as a possible quick solution. Echoing those thoughts, Modi said that Android Nation would promote the use of 3G phones and is planning a gradual phase out of 2G-only phones from the stores.
Earlier this year, rumours popped up of Google opening up branded retail outlets in cities around the world. While this is not exactly the same kind of store – we don’t know yet if other Google products like Chromebooks will be sold at Android Nation – Google is looking to one-up Apple with a similar reseller network as the Cupertino company. A chain of Android Nation stores should ideally help in stronger brand recall and identity for the already-dominant Android. And in that regard, it would be a major win for Google.