Reliance Jio will launch a budget laptop priced at $184 (15,000 Indian rupees) with an embedded 4G SIM card, aiming to replicate the success of its low-cost JioPhone in the highly price-sensitive market of India, two sources told Reuters.
The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate has partnered with global giants Qualcomm and Microsoft for the JioBook, with the former powering its computing chips based on technology from Arm Ltd, with the Windows operating system maker providing support for some applications. Jio, India’s biggest telecom carrier with more than 420 million customers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sources said that the laptop would be available to enterprise customers such as schools and government institutes this month, with a consumer launch anticipated within the next three months. As with the JioPhone, a 5G-enabled 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 handset has been India’s top-selling sub-$100 smartphone, accounting for a fifth of the market in the previous three quarters, according to Counterpoint.
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.
Per research firm IDC, PC shipments in India stood at 14.8 million units last year, led by HP, Dell and Lenovo.
The launch of the JioBook will extend the total addressable laptop market segment by at least 15%, Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak said.
The laptop will run Jio’s JioOS operating system, and apps can be downloaded from the JioStore. Jio is also pitching the computer as an alternative to tablets for out-of-the-office corporate employees.
Jio, which raised around $22 billion from global investors such as KKR & Co Inc and Silver Lake in 2020, is credited with disrupting the world’s no. 2 mobile market when it launched cheap 4G data plans and free voice services in 2016, and later the 4G smartphone at the cost of just $81.