Japanese electronics company Sharp has announced its entry into the competitive Indian handset market, which the vendor says “represents a strategic move for Sharp towards becoming a leader in the mobility market in India.” The company will offer four devices in the country – Alice, Blink, Tango and Cyborg – which will be available before the end of 2010. It says that “our handsets have been modeled keeping in mind the youth between the age group of 16 – 30 years in urban and semi-urban cities.” Features include touchscreens, social networking service integration, and dual SIM slots.

The move is the latest by a Japanese vendor to increase its reach outside of its home market, following a number of earlier efforts that have delivered a mixed degree of success. While Sharp is a tier-one vendor in Japan, its success in international markets has been muted, although it did have a partnership with Vodafone that saw the vendor’s GX10 device forming part of the launch Vodafone Live portfolio – the handset also won at the 2003 GSMA Global Mobile Awards. Domestic peers Fujitsu, Panasonic and NEC have also had a similarly small influence outside of Japan, and have been largely absent from overseas territories in recent years. But the Indian market is also very competitive: a recent survey by IDC says that while Nokia still leads the market with a 36.3 percent share, more than 35 “emerging vendors” from India and China sharing a similar share. In addition, while Nokia and Samsung hold the top-two handset positions, as they do in the global market, in India the top-five is rounded out by local players G’Five, Micromax and Spice.