To sell tablets, Intel turns to state governments

Intel, which has so far failed to cash in on the tablet and smartphone boom, is now eyeing institutional sales to shore up numbers in India. The company is talking to several state governments, explaining to officials how tablets can be used to bolster teaching methods in schools and colleges.

Recently, after negotiations led by Intel, Acer sold 10,000 Android tablet to the Goa government. Intel was also instrumental in putting together a deal between one of its hardware partners and Assam government, which too bought 10,000 Android tablets.

“Now we are talking to Chhattisgarh government that wants to buy 100,000 tablets for engineering students in the state,” said Anand Ramamoorthy, director for consumption sales at Intel. “We have also sold some tablets to Maruti, which wants to use them in its manufacturing plant, and a few other companies.”

To woo state governments, Intel is promising not just the hardware but also special software support. “We have worked with some software vendors and have come up with a tool that will allow schools or institutes to monitor how students are using tablets. This data can aid teachers and instructors in making sure that tablets are used in the right way,” said Ramamoorthy.

Intel’s push for tablets in Indian schools and colleges comes at a time when people’s love affair with tablets is cooling down. Recently, IDC said that in Q1 of 2014, tablet shipment in the Indian market was down nearly 33% year-on-year. In total, 780,000 tablets were sold in India in the first three months of 2014.

Ramamoorthy said that for general consumers, smartphones — especially those with big screens — would remain the preferred gadget, and tablets would have to find niche markets. “I believe that to sell tablets companies will have to go vertical in the coming days. Tablets will be more useful where we have specific use cases for them. For example they would work well as educational tool but not as a general purpose computer,” he said.

Intel has found the going tough in the tablet (and smartphone) market so far, largely because it was late to realise the popularity of handheld computers. Currently, most of the Android tablets sold in the market are powered by Qualcomm processors.

Filed in: News, Technology News

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