Broadband in India: Devices

The interesting change in the world of computers is the diversity of devices that are now becoming available. We have netbooks, network computers (thin clients), smartbooks, eBook readers, gaming consoles – and tablet computers are on the way. In all cases, the form factor will likely be much bigger than what a conventional smartphone offers.

In India, these devices will need to be offered on a monthly installment plan for quick mass market adoption. There will be two key price points: sub-Rs 5,000 for the device (the one-time upfront payment), and a monthly subscription fee of Rs 400-500 (which includes broadband access).  This is where the telcos will have to take the lead. It is a model they are familiar with – be it with landlines or mobiles.

Devices also must have simplified user interfaces. We are targeting the next set of computer users who don’t need all the bells and whistles that Windows offers. While the browser will be good for a lot of the functionality, a limited icon-based interface (like on a mobile phone) could go some way in breaking the usability barrier. In addition, by leveraging server-centric (cloud) computing and management, the device itself can be simplified.

In India, PC sales are about 8-9 million a year. Of these, about a third end up in homes. The new devices have the potential to drive consumption to 2-3X of that, thus creating the necessary demand for broadband pipes.

Tomorrow: Pipes

124 thoughts on “Broadband in India: Devices

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  2. Close to a year on, I dont see too much change in the broadband or devices space. Acceleration in adoption of some form of computing might happen when Deepika and kareena are roped in by the BWA licensees to endorse devices and services. But even that will not be enough to drive massive subscriptions. In the end, it is about giving the consumer what he may want with very little of his investments in time, money, energy and attention. Current hardware and legacy software score low on this count. It is too hard for someone who has never seen a computer, to start using one, let alone start consuming services on it. Usability has to be as easy as on a TV set – simple, social and flexible.

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