The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has released new norms that require handset vendors to test smartphone batteries separately, which was not the case earlier. The norms have come into effect from June 1, under which the Compulsory Registration Scheme (CRS) demands that every new smartphone model that is launched in the country needs to have its battery, the cells inside the battery, the adapter and the mobile handset tested and registered separately. This will add to the time taken to get a device certified and could lead to delay in smartphone launches. Also Read - Why smartphones must be classified as an essential product during COVID-19 lockdownsAlso Read - How is the Smartphone Industry Trend in 2021?
Industry bodies have welcomed the move but are wary that it might add more processes to get the BIS certification. ” The entire industry has walked an extra mile towards the new norm. Although the compliance orders add to the headache of the industry, they understand that this move will benefit them in the long run and eliminate the hundreds of spurious goods from the market, Pravin Gondane, the Associate Director of the Indian Cellular Association (ICA) told BGR India. ICA is the industry body of handset vendors. Also Read - Flipkart Smartphones Carnival sale: Deals on Apple, Samsung, Poco, Realme, more smartphones
Gondane added that while the additional testing won’t have an impact on the cost of devices, the additional steps could delay the launch process.
Mobile industry expert and analyst, Mahesh Uppal concurs with ICA’s point of view. The real issue here that the companies are concerned with is not the standard or the process per se, but the time it takes. Testing of batteries is a legitimate process, and nobody in the industry would oppose the certification, but the time taken in it is also a genuine issue, he said.
However, industry experts suggest that there is certain ambiguity in the new norms. For instance, it isn’t clear whether the battery testing norms are restricted to smartphones alone or other accessories as well.
Smartphone vendors, meanwhile, have agreed to follow the new norms. “As a brand, we are ensuring that all batteries within our products are BIS certified. Currently, all our mobile phones are BIS certified and we will continue to be compliant with the government regulations moving forward, a Xiaomi spokesperson told BGR India.
Lava is following the directives issued by BIS and is fully compliant of the norms. Our policies are completely aligned to what the government proposes and as a responsible multinational corporate, we always abide by the business laws and ethics of every market where Lava is operating, Gaurav Nigam, Lava’s head of product, said.
Samsung, which is India’s largest smartphone vendor, meanwhile refused to comment on the issue, when BGR India reached out to them. Micromax, which is the second largest player, Lenovo and Intex had not responded to repeated requests for comment at the time of filing this story.
Apart from the new battery norm, the handset industry is also grappling with a new ruling that will make it mandatory for all handsets in the country that are sold from January 1, 2017 to have an emergency button for women. The Department of Telecommunications has also mandated all handset vendors to provide smartphone patches to existing devices in the market, which will enable the emergency button by pressing a key.
The handset industry is up in arms about the new ruling as providing software patches to all models in function would add a huge cost as well as take up a lot of resources. Another ruling had mandated all mobile phones to have a GPS in order to locate them in times of emergency. The industry has opposed the move as it would increase the cost of low-cost feature phones that do not have GPS.
India is the world’s second largest smartphone market and the fastest growing one. Even as the Chinese market shows signs of saturation amidst a slowdown, India is the only bright spot. However, with increased norms and diktats from the government, it remains to be seen what impact it would have on future growth.