Exclusive: India’s Reliance Jio launches cheap 4G laptop for $184

NEW DELHI, Oct. 2 (Reuters) – Reliance Jio is launching a budget laptop priced at $184 (15,000 Indian Rupees) with a built-in 4G SIM card, aiming to replicate the success of its low-cost JioPhone in India’s highly price-sensitive market , two sources told Reuters.

The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate has partnered with global giants Qualcomm (QCOM.O) and Microsoft for the JioBook, with the former powering its computer chips based on technology from Arm Ltd, and the maker of Windows OS providing support for some apps.

Jio, India’s largest telecom provider with more than 420 million customers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The laptop will be available to business customers such as schools and government agencies starting this month, with a consumer launch expected within the next three months, sources said. As with the JioPhone, a 5G compatible version will follow.

“This will be as big as JioPhone,” one of the sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Since its launch late last year, the device has been the best-selling smartphone under $100 in India, according to Counterpoint, accounting for one-fifth of the market in the past three quarters.

The JioBook will be produced locally by contract manufacturer Flex, with Jio aiming to sell “hundreds of thousands” of units by March, one of the sources said.

Total PC shipments in India last year totaled 14.8 million units, led by HP, Dell and Lenovo, according to research firm IDC.

The launch of the JioBook will expand the overall addressable laptop market segment by at least 15%, said Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak.

The laptop runs on Jio’s proprietary JioOS operating system and apps can be downloaded from the JioStore. Jio is also launching the laptop as an alternative to tablets for business employees who are out of the office.

Jio, which raised approximately $22 billion in 2020 from global investors such as KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) and Silver Lake, is credited with disrupting the world’s No. 2 cellular market when it launched low-cost 4G data plans in 2016. and launched free voice services, and later the 4G smartphone for just $81.

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Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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