In an effort to duplicate the success of its low-cost JioPhone in India’s very price-sensitive market, Reliance Jio will introduce a low-cost laptop with an inbuilt 4G sim card for $184 (15,000 Indian rupees), according to two people who spoke to Reuters. For the JioBook, the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate has worked with two industry titans: Qualcomm (QCOM.O), which will power its processing chips based on Arm Ltd. technology, and Microsoft, which will enable some apps.
With more than 420 million customers, Jio is India’s largest telecom provider. Jio did not immediately react to a request for comment. The laptop will be made accessible to business users this month, including universities and government agencies, with a consumer launch likely within the next three months, according to sources. A 5G-capable version will come after, much like with the JioPhone.
This will be just as popular as JioPhone, one of the persons with firsthand knowledge of the situation told Reuters. The device has been India’s best-selling sub-$100 smartphone since its launch in late last year, according to Counterpoint, and has captured a fifth of the market over the past three quarters. According to one of the insiders, Jio plans to sell ‘hundreds of thousands’ of the JioBook devices by March. The device would be made domestically by contract manufacturer Flex.
According to the research company IDC, 14.8 million PCs were shipped to India overall last year, with HP, Dell, and Lenovo leading the way. The introduction of the JioBook will increase the overall addressable laptop market sector by at least 15%. Jio’s own JioOS operating system will be used on the laptop, and programmes may be downloaded via the JioStore. Jio is promoting the laptop as an alternative to tablets for corporate workers who work outside of the office.
Jio, which raised about $22 billion from international investors including KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) and Silver Lake in 2020, is credited with upending the second-largest mobile market in the world when it introduced affordable 4G data plans and free voice services in 2016, followed by the 4G smartphone at a price of just $81.