Tablet personal computer manufacturers in India are not only introducing products at lower-end price points, but are also coming out with free bundled features and applications (apps) to grab the market.

HCL Infosystems on Tuesday launched latest range of its ‘ME’ brand of tablets priced between Rs 5,999 and Rs 11,999 that come pre-loaded with Big-Flix, Cleartrip, LinkedIn, NimBuzz, Twitter and Facebook apps.

Also as an introductory offer by the company, it is offering MyEduWorld 1+1(Buy 1 Year Content and get next year content free). The education contents will be available in the new range of Me Tablets from April onwards. It is also giving Cleartrip travel voucher worth Rs 2,500.

Other tablet makers such as Micromax, Lava, Zync Global and Karbonn have similar apps loaded on their devices. But, would such features and apps create a market for such tablets in the country?

“The actual move is to take wow value of the tablet for media and entertainment users. As these tablets are not getting market position as compared to other high-end brands, companies are bundling with such features and apps for possible customers,” Sandip Biswas, Director, Deloitte Touche Tomhatsu India, told Business Line.

And, just like sub-Rs 2,000 mobile phones survived, he said these tablets will also survive as India is an interesting market and there are buyers for high-end as well as such tablets priced at Rs 5,000-15,000.

“We have apps through service providers such as Big-Flix, Hungama and Ibibo for movies, songs, pre-loaded games in our tablets priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 11,000,” Anuj Garg, Technical Director, Zync Global, said.

He said bundled services such as data card are not lucrative anymore to all customers as most of these new tablets come with wi-fi enabled. “However, in terms of apps, every consumer wants that,” he added.

Micromax tablet

Micromax’s new 10-inch tablet promises more fun and education to all consumers. Continuing its partnership with content providers such as Everonn, Pearson and Vriti, it has now McGraw Hill as its content partner to create a brand new experience of digital learning through its latest Funbook Pro.

To make richer experience, companies are also offering SIM card slot facility in these tablets, called phablets that enables them to make call from the same device.

“With the launch of the new range, we are aiming at strengthening our portfolio in the phablet category as well. V1 which is a 2G calling phablet and Y3, a dual-SIM, dual stand-by 3G model will enable us to capture the calling segment in the market,” Gautam Advani, Global Head, Mobility Business Unit, HCL Infosystems, said.

Growing market

According to IDC India, the country has a total market of 8.44 lakh tablets during the July-September quarter 2012, led by Samsung with 1.86 lakh units sold, followed by Micromax and Apple at 1.68 lakh and 93,000 units sold in the period.

But, according to some analysts, it is difficult to say whether this trend would continue in long run or not.

“It is too early to say if it is going to be a continued trend in future by low-cost tablet manufacturers. But, they have to come up with such bundled services to attract the market,” Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst – mobiles and tablets, IDC India, said.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 5, 2013)
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