Exclusive: India’s Reliance looks to repeat phone success with $184 laptop | Techno Glob


NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Reliance Jio will soon launch a laptop priced at just 15,000 rupees ($184) – one of the cheapest on offer in India, aiming to replicate the success of its low-cost phone, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance is known for disrupting businesses with jaw-dropping price offers. Jio, his telecommunications unit, has been credited with upsetting the world number one. 2 mobile market with cheap 4G data plans and free voice services in 2016. Last year, it followed that with its JioPhone 4G which costs $81.

The laptop, which will be called JioBook, will come with a 4G SIM card. Available to customers such as schools and government institutes starting this month, the laptop will likely go on sale to general consumers within the next three months, the sources said. As with the JioPhone, a 5G compatible version should follow.

“It will be as big as JioPhone,” one of the sources told Reuters.

Sources declined to be identified as launch plans have not been made public. Jio, India’s largest telecom operator with more than 420 million customers, did not respond to a request for comment.

The JioPhone has been India’s best-selling smartphone under $100, accounting for one-fifth of that market segment over the past three quarters, according to Counterpoint Research. The segment accounts for 9% of the country’s smartphone sales.

JioBook will run on the JioOS operating system, the sources said, adding that some of Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) apps will also be available. It will use Qualcomm (QCOM.O) chips based on technology from Arm Ltd, they added.

The laptop will compete with a limited number of offerings in this price range from Acer (2353.TW), Lenovo (0992.HK) and Indian company Lava.

But it could face some resistance in a country where laptops running Microsoft Windows dominate.

“The challenges for adoption will be user awareness… The non-Windows (operating system) is also a disappointment,” said Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak.

Currently, HP (HPQ.N) and Dell dominate laptop sales in India – a market of 14 million units sold annually that could grow another 15% with the addition of JioBook, Pathak estimates.

The JioBook will be produced locally by contract manufacturer Flex, with Jio aiming to sell “hundreds of thousands” of units by March, one of the sources said.

Jio, which also offers the laptop as an alternative to tablets for corporate workers away from the office, has raised approximately $22 billion from global investors such as KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) and Silver Lake in 2020.

(This story refiles to fix the third paragraph for clarity)

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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