Why would you write an app about Cricket? Because there are more cricket fans in India than there are people in the USA. India is huge – 1.2 billion people live there. It’s developing too so when it comes to technology it’s an opportunity, especially for low-cost technology. Google recently introduced new Chromebooks and Chrome OS services at an event in India and it’s going to be very interesting to see how this market develops over 2015. Will the people, and government, take it on?
Over at UMPCPortal.com, our site for mobile PCs, India is the #3 visiting country. Here at Chromebooknews India is at #5 and the numbers are rising. It’s not surprising because despite having 22 official languages, English can be spoken by around 100 million residents. The number of people reading English, especially in the tech circles, must be much bigger than that. Combine the need for low-cost technology due to a low average income it makes absolute sense that Google is promoting Chromebooks in India.
The new Nexian and Xolo Chromebooks are, bar a few strange Android smartbooks, the cheapest laptops on the market. At Rs 12999 (about $200, inclusive of taxes) it’s much less than entry-level Windows laptops which start at about Rs 17000. ($270.)
If India’s schools and consumers take to it there’s huge potential for sales. Gartner predicts a 27% global increase in Chromebook sales in 2015 (total 7.28 million global sales) with just 220 thousand sales coming from APAC, which Includes India. If the Chromebook infrastructure works well in India then those numbers could be much, much higher but there are issues to address.
Around 8 million laptops are sold in India each year which shows a low-level of penetration and consideration must be given to the low-cost tablets and smartphones that are available. You can buy a 7-inch tablet and keyboard for under Rs 5000 for example and in a country that has an average per-head income that’s 1/10th of the USA, price is a major issue. Even at $200 Chromebooks will be too expensive for most consumers. The best opportunity for Chromebooks comes through the government and the education sector.
Pilot programs were started in 2013 and it looks like there’s more coming so if these projects are successful in providing Internet, Chromebooks, management, repair, applications, training and improved education results then the door is open but predicting government funding for larger-scale roll-outs is not easy. In the meantime we’re updating the database with the new models so feel free to have a browse.