Reliance Jio will launch a $184 (₹15,000) budget laptop with a 4G SIM card, aiming to replicate the success of its low-cost JioPhone in India’s price-sensitive market, two sources told Reuters.
The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate partnered with global giants Qualcomm and Microsoft for the JioBook, with the former running computing chips based on Arm Ltd technology, while the Windows OS maker provided support for some applications.
Jio, India’s largest telecom operator with more than 420 million customers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The laptop will be available to enterprise customers such as schools and government institutes starting this month, with a consumer launch in the next three months, the sources said. Just like the JioPhone, a 5G-enabled version will follow.
“It will be as big as the JioPhone,” one source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Since its launch late last year, the phone has become the best-selling sub-$100 smartphone in India, accounting for a fifth of the market in the past three quarters, according to Counterpoint.
The JioBook will be manufactured locally by contract manufacturer Flex, with Jio aiming to sell “hundreds of thousands” of units by March, one of the sources said. Total PC shipments in India were 14.8 million units last year, led by HP, Dell and Lenovo, according to research firm IDC.
According to Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak, the launch of JioBook will expand the overall notebook market segment by at least 15 percent. The laptop runs Jio’s own JioOS operating system and apps can be downloaded from JioStore. Jio is also offering the laptop as an alternative to tablets for out-of-office corporate employees.
Jio, which raised nearly $22 billion in 2020 from global investors including KKR & Co Inc and Silver Lake, disrupted the world’s No. 2020 ranking. 2 in the mobile market in 2016 when it launched cheap 4G data plans and free voice services, and later a 4G smartphone for $81.