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Samsung’s latest smartphone is tailor-made for India’s booming market

By Ananya Bhattacharya

In the race to grab share in India’s growing smartphone market, South Korea’s Samsung is trying to give users exactly what they want.

Its latest phone, the Z2, costs Rs 4,590($68), $90 below the average price of a smartphone in India. The Z2 is slated to launch Aug. 29, and comes loaded with ‘Make for India’ features designed to make usage cost-effective and efficient, such as the Ultra Data Saving mode, which compresses data by almost 40%; the ability to transfer funds between bank accounts without using the internet; and a bike mode, which makes it easy to filter out less important calls when the user is riding around. It’s the first Samsung phone running on the company’s Tizen operating system with 4G capabilities, the company announced today (Aug. 23).

Earlier this year, India surpassed the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research. However, with phones running on Android capturing almost all of the market, other operating systems have struggled to grab a slice of the growing user base. Apple, for example, has lost share because of its unaffordable devices and a poor sales strategy. In a price sensitive market like India, low-cost, high-utility devices stand out.

And while cheap domestic brands have combined for nearly half the sales in India, Samsung was the market leader in 2015, thanks to its ability to offer competitive pricing to local alternatives. That type of brand recognition could help Tizen.

Since its mid-2015 launch, Samsung’s homegrown operating system, Tizen, has become the third largest operating system in India, overtaking Microsoft. Its adoption rate is likely to continue growing into the next year, according to Linda Sui, Strategy Analytic’s director for wireless smartphone strategies. ”So far, Samsung has positioned itself as a low cost platform,” Sui said in an interview. With the 4G offering being tacked on to the OS, Tizen may well take a bite out of Android’s share—at least among Samsung devices.

Samsung’s latest handset may not seem as jaw-dropping as the $4 Freedom 251 phones, but it comes from a far more respected brand, loaded with apps, and with a more-than-affordable price tag.