As low-cost airlines and cheap handsets made flying and cellphones accessible to commoners, some PC makers and telecom players are trying to make the tablet PC affordable for one and all.
In a market that is dominated by the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tabs, both priced above Rs 25,000, several Indian companies have entered the fray with low cost tablets, betting on it as a gadget for the future.
"The tablet is the most exciting product in the digital world after mobile phones and personal computers. Studies have shown that the demand for tablet computers is going to be as high as 175 million units per year by 2014," said Sandeep Parasrampuria, director of iBall. The cellphone and PC-maker launched its own affordable tablet, Slide, earlier this month priced at Rs 13,995, which is among the most expensive in this segment. Compare that to Apple's cheapest iPad 2, which costs about Rs 29,500.
The buyer has ample options now such as Aakash (Rs 3,000), Reliance's 3G tablet (Rs 12,999), Airtel subsidiary Beetel's Magiq 3G (Rs 9,999) and PC maker Mercury's mTab (Rs 9,499). According to CyberMedia Research, the 7-inch form and Android 2.2 Froyo are the most popular platforms for the tablet.
All these affordable tablets are 7-inch, use an older Android version, have expandable memory and are sourced from warehouses in China.
"The launch of low cost tablets bundled with affordable data services on 3G and broadband networks can be expected to give a further boost to India Tablet shipments in 2012 and beyond," said Naveen Mishra, lead analyst at CyberMedia Research. This is expected push the tablet sales in India to 2.75 lakh units by the end of 2011.