Tablets:Why would they be a late starters in India?
While Tablets are the hottest gadgets and are eating away into the netbook and laptop global markets, thereby inducing most of the PC makers to make their own tablets to keep their toplines and bottomlines in shape. Blame it on the iPad which got the Tablet juggernaut which started and the Android tablets which are eating into the low, mid and high end of the tablets segment currently. The IDC forecast for Tablet growth globally compares starkly versus the PC sales.
However the story in India has been somewhat different in Indian context. While tablets have become an aspirational device for people who possess more than one computer, the sales units are around a 100K on an annual basis led mostly by Samsung. One sees a lot of tablets in airports and on planes, but that is where the device has been able to create a niche. Its far from mainstream acceptance.
Factors that impede Tablet penetration in India:
1. Limited Features such as lack of USB port, CD/DVD drives, software and memory upgradation
2. Tablets by nature are used for consuming content – playing, downloading, social networking, apps. However, a tablet is far behind the laptop in terms of content creation. In emerging markets such as India, content creation devices will always be in more demand than the content consumption devices.
3. Wireless broadband and 3G networks are till in infancy and WiFi hotspots are still are in India.
4. Where-ever the broadband services are available, the costs are high and the speeds are un-uniform, not to speak low as well.
These may be the negatives but that doesnot end the story in India. As with all devices, Tablets will take their time to hit the sweetspot in pricing and proposition in the markets.
1. Internet in India is growing by multiple factors and the young population is increasingly turning to digital avatars as a way of life. Facebook, Twitter lead the way in the Indian way of self expression which in turn fuels internet growth
2. Broadband and other connection techniques are on the up as higher data speeds are breached and 4G a possible reality by 2015-16
3. The number of tablet makers in the country have multiplied. 6 months back we only had Apple and Samsung and now we have Moto, Olive, HTC, Blackberry, HP in the fray. This should be a case where supply will create its own demand
4. White labelled Mid end tablets @ Rs.6K-10K backed by Telcos will be an interesting device proposition to the first time laptop buyer. Given that attachments such as docking ports, key pads and more are to follow, the tablets will develop the tablet habit.
5. Enterprises and Schools will also allow tablets as an easy media machine: cheap, handy, portable and with much less hassle than laptops.