Olive’s android dreams fast becoming a reality

by Abhinna Shreshtha    Dec 03, 2010

Olives android dreams fast becoming a realityOlive Telecommunication is gearing up for some major developments in the coming year as it looks to create a self-sustaining ecosystem in a market swamped with budding players. Key to its business plan seems to be the Android operating system with at least 5 new devices expected to be launched in the coming months; including Olive’s first Android-based smartphone which will be launched later this month.

Olive is no novice when it comes to the Android platform and already has a tablet PC called OlivePad running on the OS. It now plans to launch two more tablets in the first quarter of 2011, running the newer versions of the Android, viz, v2.3 (Gingerbread) and v3.0 (Honeycomb).

On the smartphone side, Olive has been slower than competitors like Micromax, Spice, and Videocon. But the scenario is expected to change this month, with the release of its first Android-based smartphone running Android v2.1. A low-cost device, it is expected to be priced below Rs. 10,000. Though exact features and specifications have not been disclosed, Kshitij Keode, VP (product engineering and technology) of Olive Telecom, said it will include subscription-based applications like Zynga TV and MapmyIndia.

Olive also plans to launch two additional Android smartphones in the first quarter of 2011, including a business-oriented device, which will be pre-bundled with applications like travel guides, stock exchange information, currency converters, etc. “The Android platform allows you to do everything in an open environment that RIM lets you to do in a closed platform. We feel that design, user interface, and applications have become the differentiators today. These are the three things we will focus on in our development,” said Keode.

To boost its presence in the application space, Olive is looking for revenue-sharing partnerships with application developers. The company also has a small in-house team for developing applications. One interesting application that the team is working on currently is an instant messenger (IM) service which can run on all Olive devices but can also integrate with other IM clients like Yahoo and Google Talk.

But, perhaps the company’s most ambitious plan is to start its own manufacturing plant in India. Currently, though the designs are created by Olive, manufacturing is done by OEMs in China and Taiwan, which includes Foxconn: known for making Apple products like the iPod and the iPhone. The plant is expected to begin operations by the first half of next year. Keode informed us that the plant will only manufacture high volume devices, while the remaining will still be developed through their OEM partners.