Is India ready for the Tablet PC revolution? – Uday Disley

It will not be long from now that all of us will have a tablet pc in our hands, much like what we would have experienced with a smartphone few years ago, only this time the adoption will be much faster. While Steve Jobs may feel happy about this, but as usual he waited for an year, before he officially launched his Ipad in India. He may have been ill advised not to launch in India, but will Mr Jobs regret, maybe yes, here are some points that he may have missed

A)     3G/ Broadband access: For a country where last mile connectivity has been one of the biggest issues when it comes to internet penetration, 3G/ wireless broad band access should solve the problem. The penetration will be aided by access which will become cheaper as competition increases. There is already talk within the industry that RIL, which has a pan India license for broadband, will do what RCom did for mobile telephony with its prices when they launched, and the rest as they say is history.

B)      Entertainment: When your mother-in-law is active on facebook, you know that social networking is really working in the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if she opted for a 500 gms device which pretty much covers more than her computing needs. Besides this, there is enough and more data on the increase in consumption of entertainment over the internet to substantiate the need for a hand held device. With a tablet, you can literally carry entertainment around with you, as opposed to lugging a 3 kilo laptop (for doing the same things).

C)      Price: Well all of us want the coolest thing that we own, to be the cheapest (price). The tablet’s are at an ‘early adopter’ stage, but there already seems to be a price war (thanks to Steve Jobs for an aggressive pricing on the Ipad). Our prediction is that the price of tablets will drop drastically over the next year or so. The reason is simple, thanks to Google’s android, the hardware is more or less commoditized. Recently I met an entrepreneur who plans to sell Android based tablets at about Rs.10K, while his landed price being Rs.6K (no points for guessing where it is landing from). Now you can expect the second round of handset wars between the likes of Spice, Micromax, Karbon and other homegrown brands. While you may never get the snob value of carrying an Ipad, but I believe that a majority of Indian consumers out there couldn’t care less.

D)     ‘I still have my doubts’: While many may argue that a combination of access, low price, and a ‘better than PC’ user experience is not a sure shot recipe for success, analyse this; you like and use your mobile more than your PC/laptop (and always had a freakish desire to throw it away when it hung); you are a compulsive social network user (you have facebook on your mobile and access it at least 3 times in a day) and last but not the least you wished the laptop was mobile enough to accompany you to the ‘pot’. If you still are in doubt you might just be missing out on the next big wave.

So is the tablet going to change how we do our computing, guess it will not, but it has the potential to be as disruptive as digital music players (thanks largely to ipod), has had an impact on how we access music and the music industry at large. You may still have PC’s, laptops and tablets co-existing, but the way we use all of this will change drastically. So the question really is ‘which side of the opportunity are you on?’

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About Deepak
Venture Capital and M&A advisor, Entrepreneur, Startup enthusiast..

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