Intel to partner with Indian original equipment manufacturers
Intel looks to partner with Indian OEMs and release a slew of devices this year, says director of south Asia consumption sales.
"We want to be a relevant player in 2014 and the leader in 2015. We have the building blocks, we understand the channels much better, we've learnt how things are sold in India," Anand Ramamoorthy, director of south Asia consumption sales at Intel, said in a recent interview.
Ramamoorthy expects to see "double-digit" numbers by way of the variants of devices available in the south Asian market starting this year that will be capable of running Microsoft's windows operating system as well as Google's popular Android and Chrome software.
After missing out on the initial wave of the mobile revolution, the world's largest computer chipmaker is betting its mobile strategy on a family of processors and systems-on-chip it released last year code named Bay Trail that Ramamoorthy said captures the right combination of power, performance, and price.
"We all know what Intel earned its stripes for," Ramamoorthy said, referring to Intel's dominance of the personal computer market. "What has not worked too well has been our inability to have a sustained product beat rate in the mobility space," he said. Smartphones and tablets are an area where "you have to innovate much faster" and introduce new platforms every six to nine months, he said. With the Bay Trail family, which Ramamoorthy said were the best engineered chips that Intel had yet for mobility, the computer chipmaker is expecting to become "a relevant player in 2014 and a leader in 2015."
While Ramamoorthy declined to give India-specific numbers, Intel is looking to quadruple the number of tablets with its chips shipped to about 40 million this year versus 2013. In India, apart from existing partnerships with global original equipment manufacturers, Intel is working with homegrown manufacturers, the likes of Micromax, Lava and Karbonn for new launches.
The Intel Atom will go on tablets and two-in-ones, which can be used as laptops or a tablet, and Intel Celeron and Intel Pentiums will go on entry-level two-in-ones, laptops, desktops, and All-in-ones.
While the brand "Atom" is familiar from the days of the netbook, which were cheap laptops not meant for heavy graphics or gaming and so on, the new Atom-branded Bay Trail chip is not to be confused with that.
The Bay Trail version is a "significant evolution," in the underlying architecture of the chips that offers lower power use, faster computing ability, a smaller footprint and sleeker design, Ramamoorthy said. Tablets such as the Asus Fonepad 7 and Acer W4 are already available based on Bay Trail.
In the US, Bay Trail systems will start from $199 (clamshell), $250 (notebook with touch) and $349 (two-in-ones). In India, in the tablet space Intel is specifically targeting the 7-10 inch screen size that would fall in the Rs 15,000-30,000 price band.
Tablet PC sales in India were around 1.9 million units for the year ended March 2013, compared to 0.36 million units in 2011-12, growing by 424%, the hardware industry lobby Manufacturing Association of IT said in a report in July last year.
Intel is not the only one betting its future on the booming tablet device market. Microsoft, which recently acquired Nokia, has pulled up its socks to add fresh launches this year. Microsoft's country general manager for consumer channel group Chakrapani Gollapali told ET recently, the company has its own aggressive plans targeting the tablet market especially the 10-inch and above screen size market, which is less crowded.
The company plans to launch more than 10 variants in the market in the coming months, he said. Apart from this, Microsoft will also work on a channel push to ensure better incentive for the retailers.
Microsoft too is in advanced talks with the home grown partners. "A vendor can be profitable at 15% of market share, however in the large screen category, our vision is to achieve 35% market share," Gollapali said.