Once viewed as a corporate tool for busy executives, tablet PCs are fast metamorphosing itself into an essential tool for students. Buoyed by increasing demand in the education sector, scores of vendors have launched tablets targeting students over the last one year. The latest entrants: Micromax and HCL Infosystem.
Earlier this week, Micromax unveiled its tablet PC called Funbook, it is priced at Rs 6,499. The launch comes just a day after HCL Infosytem introduced its MyEdu Tab (priced at Rs 9,999).
According to CyberMedia Research, the country saw sales of about 475,000 units of media tablets in the last calendar year. Report from research firm Frost & Sullivan says the tablet PC user base in India has increased from 60,000 units in 2010 to 300,000 in 2011. It added that the overall tablet PC user base is likely to grow at a CAGR of 107 per cent to reach 23.38 million by 2017.
The Indian market has become very competitive in the five quarters since 4Q of 2010, when Samsung introduced the first tablet model in the country. Then, the launch of Aakash tablets and the initial response its commercial launch last year received has encouraged other vendors to tap the market.
Aakash, termed as the world’s cheapest tablet PC, was launched in October 2011 by Union minister Kapil Sibal. Coming with a price tag of Rs 2,276, it is being supplied to students at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,500. Sibal’s Human Resources Development Ministry is also planning to come out with an upgraded version of Aakash (Aakash II) in May this year.
|WHERE THE MONEY LIES
Vendors are rushing to offer low-cost tablets for students
||Ira and Ira Thing
“The competition is expected to intensify further, with new vendors launching their products during 2012,” according to Naveen Mishra, lead telecom analyst, CyberMedia Research. “For now, education seems to be the vertical, with highest priority of adoption and a large number of models are positioned at this segment.”
The vendors are not only launching the hardware, but also bundling their product with education content providers for making it a full package for the student community.
For example, Micromax has partnered with Pearson and Everonn to make educational contents available to the students. It has also partnered with BigFlix, Zenga and Indiagames to provide entertainment and gaming contents.
HCL’s MyEdu tab K12 version will have NCERT K12 Mapped Content, which will have animations and text in 2D and 3D other than solved examples, chapter quizzes, key revision points and free NCERT text books. The MyEduTab will have a version which will provide Hindi and English content for standard I to V students, and general knowledge content for junior classes.
WishTel’s IRA tablets (priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,500) comes with eBook reader app, course content for ICSE, CBSE and state boards apart from engineering, medical, and other higher education offerings.
The Manufacturer’s Association for IT Industry (MAIT) says there is heightened interest among vendors following a drastic fall in the prices of tablets. “Besides, there is increased focus on use of computing devices to impart education,” notes MAIT president Alok Bharadwaj. “The state governments are also looking at providing laptops and computers to the students. Instead, now if they offer tablets to the students, their cost would come down.”
However, analysts caution that the success in adoption of media tablets will largely depend on product performance, availability of relevant content and applications apart from affordable and widespread 3G services.