Intel to Target Bottom of the Pyramid in India

With a couple of new partnerships in India, chip maker Intel has planned to provide low-cost tech solutions to the people who have mostly been on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Intel has revealed its plans to make it easier for millions of people in India who do not own a PC yet to gain access to the benefits of computing and the Internet.

The company has announced its collaboration with a leading local business player Reliance Communications (RCom) to accelerate broadband penetration using the PC as a growth engine. It also joined hands with ASUS to produce entry-level Netbooks designed for the first time buyers, students, and people on the go.

[ Also Read: 45 Million Indians Move above $1.25 a Day ]

Intel is not alone in the race to offer tech solutions to the economically weaker groups of buyers, as the traditional higher-end market segments are getting saturated.

Leading mobile phone company Nokia is offering Nokia 101 and Nokia 100 phones, claimed to be its most affordable phones to date, with the aim of connecting the next billion consumers with mobile devices. (Read: Mobile Phone for the Poor for $30 Only)

Of late, Vodafone Essar has decided deploy the recently launched Myriad Updates, a text-based mobile social networking service accessible on low-end phones, without requiring users to have a data plan. (Read: Myriad, Vodafone to Offer Social Networking in India)

Moreover, Beetel Teletech, India’s leading manufacturer and distributor of telecom and allied products, has introduced Beetel Magiq, an Android 2.2 tablet for the Indian market. It comes with a price tag of Rs. 9,999 (about US$ 200). (Read: Get Ready to Taste the Indian Tablet Beetel Magiq)

Now, RCom and Intel aim to increase device footprint among internet subscribers across India by enhancing collaboration with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), joint retail promotions, and selling Intel architecture-based devices through the RCom Stores.

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“The collaboration with RCom gives us the opportunity to deliver computing and connectivity proposition to first time buyers especially in high potential Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities. This proposition will appeal to the 90 million households that can now afford an entry-level PC with less than one month of income,” said Prashanth Adiraju, director, New Platforms Business Group, Intel South Asia.

PC maker ASUS is offering its latest ASUS Eee PC X101 powered by an Intel Atom processor. These Netbooks come preloaded with MeeGo open source system, promising fast, rich and intuitive user experience along with applications for email, social networking, entertainment and education.

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ASUS partnership with RCom aims to bring down the price of ASUS X101 Netbook from Rs. 12,499 (about US$ 250) to Rs. 9,999 (about US$ 200). And consumers will be able to avail discount on Reliance Netconnect service with every purchase of ASUS X101 Netbook.

The announcement was made today, Sept. 28.

In the picture above: (From left to right) Prashanth Adiraju, director, New Platforms Business Group, Intel South Asia; Alex Huang, country head, Systems Group, ASUS India; and right Kaushik Pillalamarri, senior VP – Data & Devices, Reliance Communications.

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Rakesh Raman