HCL unveils laptops designed for Indian conditions

November 17th, 2008 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 17 (IANS) Personal computer manufacturer HCL Infosystems has unveiled a range of laptops that it says is ideal for Indian tropical conditions.”Our new range of laptops is designed and manufactured with thermal protection to withstand the heat and dust, a common feature in our tropical climate,” HCL Infosystems vice-president George Paul told IANS Monday.

Based on Intel’s Centrino processor technology, the HCL laptops in Microsoft and Linux versions come in four models.

“These next generation laptops are being introduced on customer feedback for a product that is conducive for regular use in Indian conditions where ambient temperatures are higher and the surface temperature of the device tends to become uncomfortable due to excessive heat generated within,” Paul said.

“With the trend of computing devices moving towards notebooks, the need for meeting the varied requirements and mode of usage has become imperative in the hot and humid Indian weather conditions,” he added.

Priced between Rs.39,990 and Rs.42,990, the thermal notebooks meet the energy star 4.0 compliance standards to ensure the temperature remains below 6 degrees on palm-rest surfaces.

The $3-billion (Rs.126-billion) company foresees rapid penetration and growth of domestic laptop market in the years to come, thanks to increasing computerisation and discretionary spending by enterprises, institutions, governments and retail customers.

“We foresee the share of laptops in the domestic market equalling that of desktops (personal computers or PCs) over the next three years because of their multiple advantages such as mobility, convenience, longer battery life and wireless connectivity through broadband,” Paul said.

In the last fiscal (2007-08), laptops accounted for 1.7 million units of the total 6.8 million computing devices, including PCs, sold in the Indian market. The laptop segment has been growing at 80 percent over the last couple of years.

Though HCL is the youngest player in the laptop segment that is dominated by multinationals such as HP, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba and Acer, with 7.3 percent market share, the Noida-based company hopes to grow exponentially with the latest range of thermal models.

“We are aware our competitors may follow us with a similar USP (unique selling proposition) and our monopoly may not remain longer. We are hopeful of retaining an edge, with a first-move advantage and sheer reach on account of our scale and presence in the country,” Paul said.

Interestingly, laptops are no longer considered a luxury or an elite product, thanks to a regular drop in prices and easy availability with after-sales service.

A buoyant economy, increasing disposable incomes, growth of the middle class and access to credit and business compulsions are driving the sales of laptops even in tier-two and tier-three cities and towns.

“We are seeing a greater offtake of laptops by government departments, academia, research institutions, small and medium businesses (SMB) and retail customers even in B and C cities across the country,” Paul claimed.

The sale of laptops in market segments such as government, retail and SMB are fast catching up with that of enterprise. Retail and government account for about 30 percent each, while enterprise and SMB segments contribute to the remaining 40 percent sales, he said.

Paul said the global slowdown and more expensive consumer credit has not had any noticeable fallout on the company til now, but conceded one neeed to be cautious.

“It is prudent to be cautious in such times. We have not seen slowdown impacting our sales as of now. We are aware the buying sentiment is not positive and the sale of laptops may take a hit if the situation does not improve. A dip in sales from the IT and ITeS firms is likely due to downturn and if investments for upgrading or expanding are withheld,” he said.

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