It turns out that the iPhone is not that big in every country as most people think. The iPhone market share in India was only 1.2 percent of all handset sales during the second quarter of this year, half the level a year earlier. Of course the reason for this low market share is the low average income of the 1.24 billion people living in India.
Meanwhile, cheap Android handsets have taken India by storm and now enjoy a commanding 50+ percent market share. Today The New York Times wrote about a sub-$50 Android tablet specifically made for students in India, called Ubislate 7Ci, made by London-based Datawind.
The device runs Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, sports a seven-inch 800-by-480 screen and also has WiFi (with GPRS data support), a mic, a headphone jack, a front-facing camera and a USB port.
It’s powered by a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor with 512MB of RAM and has four gigabytes of internal storage.
As seen in the video above, the tablet is not the fastest, and the specs are not outstanding. But it’s $40!
India has about 220 million students and the government plans to equip nearly all of them with a tablet. Datawind already accepted more than 2.5 million orders to buy the device when it was announced. Company CEO Suneet Singh Tuli observes:
The biggest problem we have with this device is that none of the decision makers, the reviewers, or the trend setters are our customer.
Personal computers caught on in the U.S. when the price got to about 25 percent of the average person’s monthly income. In India, where people make $200 a month, that is about $50.
Mr. Singh also said that the cost of making these Ubislate tablets is about $37, and sells them to the Indian government for $40. He keeps the price low by using “Google’s free Android operating system and cheap semiconductors found in low-end cellphones.” They also found out how to make its own touch panel.
Now the question remains, can Apple gain any market share by selling their upcoming cheaper iPad “Mini” in India?