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New Delhi: Noida-based contract manufacturer Optiemus Electronics (OEL), which makes wearables, mobile phones, and telecom equipment, has now added laptop manufacturing to its portfolio. OEL said it will manufacture 1 lakh units of affordable Android laptops called Primebook by March 2024 at its Noida facility.

Primebook is an entry-level laptop designed for students by Indian startup Primebook, which was founded in 2018 by IIT Delhi alumni Aman Verma and Chitranshu Mahant.

The laptop supports 4G and runs on Android-based operating system called PrimeOS. It will be sold directly to consumers in India. In other markets, Primebook also licenses the PrimeOS to OEMs separately.

“For India, we are building our laptops. It is an ARM-based laptop with PrimeOS on it. It will be called Primebook and will be available for 16,990," Mahant told Mint last month.

“Students are emerging as a new category of PC users, which has been accelerated by covid. Now for this new category, you also need a new category of laptop," he added. PrimeOS has its own app marketplace, which has over 10,000 apps.

PC manufacturing in India grew after covid-19 led lockdowns trigged massive demand for laptops and tablets for remote work and learning. In March 2021, the central government also announced the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for IT Hardware to encourage OEMs to shift PC manufacturing to India. It applies to laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, and servers and provides up to a 4% incentive on net incremental sales (over the base year) of goods manufactured in India.

“In the last few years, we have strived towards diversifying our expertise in electronics manufacturing, and now with laptop manufacturing apart from the hearables/wearables category and telecom equipment, we are looking to expand our operations significantly," said A. Gururaj, MD, OEL.

Mint reported last May that the volume of PCs manufactured in India grew by three to four times even though most of the work is still limited to the assembly of PCs.

Several PC brands in India such as HP, Lenovo, and Acer have announced plans to ramp up local manufacturing to qualify for large government contracts, which require over 50% of the supplied devices to be manufactured in India.

Also, at a time when PC shipments have declined globally due to the economic downturn, their demand in India grew at 0.3% in 2022, according to a February report by IDC, which also found that the government and education sectors were the key growth drivers for the PC market.

Though demand for PCs has grown, budget buyers still have very limited options. The ASP of laptops grew to 65,000 in 2021 from 50,000 in early 2020, Mint reported last year.

“We are excited to have OEL with us as our manufacturing partner which will further strengthen our stance to revolutionize the affordable laptop category for youth in India. The partnership will also help us to position ourselves as purely an Indian brand and help reduce production costs with indigenous manufacturing," said Primebook’s Verma.

According to a March 2022 Reuters report, Reliance Jio is also working on a low-cost laptop called JioBook for students and might launch it in early 2023.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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Updated: 20 Mar 2023, 04:18 PM IST
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