New Delhi: Competition in the low-cost tablet computer space is set to intensify in the next few months, as Lenovo Group Ltd, Amazon.com Inc. and HCL Infosystems Ltd are set to introduce inexpensive models priced at as low as Rs 10,000.
Lenovo plans to start selling a seven-inch IdeaPad A1 tablet for first-time users priced at Rs 14,990. HCL Infosystems, after testing the product in the market since March, finally unveiled its ME Tablet last week of October priced at Rs 10,490.
Amazon announced its Kindle Fire tablet in September priced at $199 (around Rs 9,800). As Amazon doesn’t sell directly in India, the tablet will have to be shipped, increasing the cost for consumers in India. The tablet will start selling in the US from 15 November. The company didn’t respond to queries on its India plans.
Consumers may prefer established brands over local ones, making it tougher for new companies to sell their products, according to analysts.
A file photo (Bloomberg)
“Considering that the specifications are identical with the same price point, consumers will any day choose known brands,” said Vishal Tripathi, principal analyst at Gartner India.
So far, the low-cost tablet category that has products priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 has been dominated mostly by Indian brands such as LACS Magnum, Reliance 3G Tab, iBall and S Mobility, many of them first-time entrants in the personal computing industry.
All the tablets in this price range, run on Google Inc.’s operating system Android, have a seven-inch screen and support third-generation (3G) and Wi-Fi connectivity. While the Beetel Magiq, HCL ME and iBall tablets are priced at Rs 9,990, Rs 10,490 and Rs 13,995, respectively, and are fitted with a 1 gigahertz processor, others such as Reliance 3G Tablet and S Mobility’s MiTab have 800 MHz processors and are sold for Rs 13,000 each. Tablets from Amazon and Lenovo more or less match these specifications.
“They (small brands) will vanish as fast as they have entered; companies with lineage will remain,” said Vinod Sawhny, chief executive of Beetel Teletech Ltd.
Sawhny expects Beetel to garner a 10% share in the tablet market next year in India.
“A price war is bound to happen,” said Sandeep Parasrampuria, chief executive of Best IT World (India) Pvt. Ltd (iBall), which introduced its tablet in the first week of September. “Known brands will have a preference.”
Around 158,000 tablets were sold in the nine months ended 30 June, according to a report by CyberMedia Research. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Research in Motion Ltd and Apple Inc. have a nearly 85% share of the market now, according to the report.
Datawind Ltd’s $46 (Rs 2,250) Aakash tablet that has been endorsed by the government may encourage other companies to introduce products in that price range. Bangalore-based AllGo Embedded Systems Pvt. Ltd also plans to start selling a Rs 5,000 tablet called Stamp in December.