India’s Reliance Jio is set to launch one of the cheapest laptops in India to replicate its success in the affordable phone market.
The laptop, called JioBook, will be priced at $184 and embedded with a 4G sim card, with a 5G-enabled version set to follow, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
It will be available for purchase this month from the likes of schools and governments, with a wider consumer launch likely in the next three months.
Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance is known for disrupting businesses with cut-throat price offerings.
Jio, its telecoms unit, has been credited with upending the world’s no-2 mobile market with cheap 4G data plans and free voice services in 2016. Last year, it followed that up with its 4G JioPhone that costs $81.
The JioPhone has been India’s top-selling smartphone priced under $100, accounting for a fifth of that market segment over the last three quarters, according to Counterpoint Research.
JioBook will run on the JioOS operating system, the sources said, adding that some of Microsoft’s apps will also be available. It will use Qualcomm chips based on technology from Arm Ltd, they added.
The laptop will compete with a limited number of offerings in that price range from Acer, Lenovo and Indian firm Lava. But it could face some resistance in a country where laptops running Microsoft Windows dominate.
“Challenges for the adoption will be user awareness… Also non-Windows (operating system) is a letdown too,” Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak said.
- Reuters with additional editing from Alfie Habershon