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Death by a Thousand Brands

Data via Jana

Local upstart and Chinese Android phone brands are gaining market share in emerging markets like India and Indonesia, new data suggest, at the expense of incumbents including Sony.

The data were gathered from the app mCent and reflects the proportion of its users among different phone brands. mCent is one of India’s most popular apps and one that’s growing in other emerging smartphone markets. While it skews towards lower-income people, the usage data are a rough proxy for the smartphone market more broadly.

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A reporter from The Information carried one around San Francisco one afternoon recently and three strangers stopped him to compliment the look of the Gionee phone. (The one he had was branded by a Florida-based firm called Blu that distributes devices to Latin America.) The phone is aimed at emerging markets and it didn’t seem to have enough memory to handle typical apps without appearing slow. Also, a splash of water on the screen can kill the device for good.

Launching a new brand is easier than ever. Having staying power is another matter.

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