Microsoft has a clear target: Windows 10 on over 1 billion devices in the next three years. And on Wednesday it made what could be one of the most significant steps in ensuring it gets there. It partnered with iBall and Intel to launch the CompBook Excelance, which at Rs 9,999 might be the cheapest Windows 10 laptop.
“This partnership is a reflection of our mission of empowering every individual and organisation to achieve more. Windows 10 already powers over 300 million devices globally,” said Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Country General Manager, Consumer Channel Group Microsoft India.
iBall CEO Sandeep Parasrampuria said the laptop penetration in India is only 9 per cent, as compared to China where its 50 per cent and thus Excelance was launched with the idea of making a laptop available in every household. He believes despite the growth of smartphone segment, laptops are the real thing. “There can be supplementary devices, but when it comes to real utility; perhaps even today, what we can do on a laptop is much higher than what one can achieve using a smartphone.”
“As far as usage, productivity and compatibility goes; a Windows device is the most useful. Whether you want it for learning or for business, Windows is almost like a de-facto standard. Also, we wanted to present this as an affordable solution to consumers, thus a sub 10k laptop” he added.
iBall also launched the CompBook Exemplaire, priced slightly higher at Rs 13,999. While the laptops come with the Windows Home version pre-installed in them, users can upgrade to Windows Pro at Rs 19,999 and Rs 23,499 for Excelance and Exemplaire respectively.
“The Digital India revolution prompted us as we thought there is going to be a huge consumption of information, so we started working at the right price-point at which people can consume it. Research suggested that a sub 10k laptop would be really useful in India, and a lot of people can take advantage of the technology for progress.”
Sandeep is confident that a lot of people will at least start considering the Excelance as an entry-level laptop. “This isn’t something that can’t be replicated,” he admitted, adding that there’s definitely going to be similar offerings within months from other players too.
“A user will get the whole package, if he buys iBall CompBook laptops as we are already an established brand, one of the leading companies in IT-sector, and we have around 400-500 service centers. So, saying that price is the biggest differentiator is not entirely true. A consumer will buy our product for the entire package and brand value that comes with it.”
While, iBall CompBook series might seem like a luring proposition right now, we will reserve our judgment on the devices in our review.