itel Mobiles, part of Transsion Holdings of China, is working closely with blind welfare societies in India to bring more innovations in low-cost user-friendly feature phones for visually impaired and people with low vision.
“We have introduced King Voice, a text to speech application for smart keypad or feature phones in India. This itself will help a lot people with low or no vision to use a phone. With interest from blind societies, we are working closely with a few of them to bring more innovation in this sphere to make their live easier in using mobile phones,” itel Mobiles Sr VP sales and distribution Arijeet Talapatra said.
Several text to speech applications are mostly available in smartphones but introducing the same in a feature phone was an “innovation in itself” from itel, he said. Such innovations will help the company rope in new set of customers and the strategy will help itel to achieve their target to become the top feature phone company in India in a short span of time, the handset maker hoped. King Voice is also expected to transform lives of semi-urban and rural people finding operational difficulties in using text messaging service.
Despite phenomenal growth of smartphones, feature phones sales are projected to remain at 12 million devices every month out of 23 million units of total sales, Talapatra said. Though itel feature phones that are sub-Rs 2000 help in driving volumes, the company was also looking for a portfolio of more smartphones in the market by December. “We have already sold 4 million devices since launch in May this year garnering two per cent marketshare from just 11 states,” Talapatra said.
Adding further he said, the group will soon dominate the feature phone with low price points, new customer friendly features and robust after sales service. Itel is also planning to expand its distribution network by roping in 1,000 distributors and 80,000 retailers by this year-end.