Surprise, surprise! Google is all set to set up retail stores in India to promote and sell its Android smartphones, according to a new report.
The stores will be called Android Nation and India would become the second country after Indonesia to get these dedicated stores.
The internet search giant is partnering with BK Modi’s Spice Global to set up the stores in various Indian cities. This first store is slated to open at Select Citywalk in New Delhi later this year reports The Economic Times. The store will be approximately 1,200-1,500 sq ft in size.
The Android Nation stores serve as an Android experience center where customers can find out more about the latest Android apps, get help from experts, download software updates or check out the latest accessories for their devices. The stores display and sell Android phones and tablets from multiple manufacturers including HTC, LG, Asus, Sony and Samsung. If the Indonesian stores are to go by, the stores will be shaped like the Android logo.
There are two Android Nation stores in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, opened in partnership with electronics retailer Erafone. While the first store only in July, the second one opened in December and both are located in malls.
While Spice currently operates 900 Spice Hotspots in the country, it plans to convert 50 of these into Android Nation stores to rapidly expand the franchise. BK Modi’s son Dilip Modi will head the Android Nation rollout in India.
Internationally both Apple and Microsoft have standalone retail outlets. There are rumors that Google plans to open standalone stores in the US to showcase Android and Chromebook by the end of the year.
At present Google mainly sells it range of Nexus devices online on the Play Store. Google began selling the Nexus 7 on the Indian Play Store at the end of March. So far it has not added any more Nexus devices to its store but the Nexus 4 is being sold by LG in retail stores and also online retailers are carrying it.
In India while there is no Apple Store run by the company, the company has tied with companies like Ample Technologies and Reliance Digital to set up Imagine and iStores respectively.
In April, we had reported that a group of Chinese manufacturers were planning on opening their own retail stores under the brand name Android Guruz to sell Android phones. It looks like that company has now moved to an online only model and stocks and sells a number of Chinese Android phones.
Android is already the market leader in the smartphone segment in India, and with Samsung’s marketing push and also the entry of the Android Nation stores they can further cement their position. An IDC report in March said that India has over 218 million smartphones and the market was growing 16% y-o-y.