HCL Infosystems launched three new tablets starting from 7,999 on Monday aimed at the student community. The $2.4-billion IT hardware and services provider said it had cornered 15% of the Indian tablet market after launching its first tablet - Me Tab - last year at Rs 10,990.
"Within five months, we have a market share of 15%. With this device, we expect to continue to keep our market share steady in the competitive tablet PC segment in India," HCL Infosystems EVP and head of mobility Gautam Advani said.
HCL's new tablets come loaded with different features. U1 seven-inch 3G and wi-fi tablet for Rs 7,999 runs on the Android 4 operating system and has 17 pre-loaded applications covering jobs, games, social networking and music.
MyEduTab is available in two versions. The K12 version is priced at Rs 11,499 and comes bundled with K12 curriculum, educational applications, games, videos and ebooks. The tablet for higher education bundled with content is priced at Rs 9,999. Both education-based tablets have NCERT-based content.
Advani said that the tablets would not compete with Aakash, the world's cheapest tablet at $35 being offered by the Indian government to school and college students at a subsidised price. He added that the company would bid for making the Aakash II, an improved version, if the price was feasible.
"We would love to participate (in the tender) and we are looking at it if it is feasible. The tender is yet to come out with the specifications... But if it comes to prices which are not feasible, we will exit graciously," Advani said and added that price point set by the government was 'very difficult' and the company was 'really struggling' to deliver a quality product in that range.
HCL Infosystems was selected by the government to make the tablets at $35 or Rs 1,750 apiece but the deal fell through when the company realised it could not meet the price expectations of the government. UK-based DataWind ultimately won the tender to supply 1 lakh devices and launched the tablet in October last year packed with a slew of features.
New Aakash In May
HRD minister Kapil Sibal, who also holds the telecom portfolio, said that the government planned to launch the modified Aakash, with a better processor and capacitive touch screen at the same price, in May.
The government wants to lower the price of this tablet to under $10 or Rs 500 as volumes increase, Sibal had said in October last year. Sales bookings of Aakash zoomed up to 14 lakh units within just two weeks of launch, surpassing the total Indian tablet market size.