Google Inc. has launched two Chromebooks in India, with similar specs, one selling on Amazon.com Inc.’s Indian site and the other on local online marketplace Snapdeal. The Chromebooks are priced at 12,999 rupees (about $204).
Chromebooks aren’t all that popular yet in India, where much of the country doesn’t have wireless, and broadband connections can be counted in a few million for a nation of 1.2 billion people.
Like Microsoft’s pricier Windows laptops, Chromebooks, a more recent entry into India, have also been hitherto aimed at schools via tieups with the relevant government agencies.
The 11.6 inch laptops are equipped with a processor from Rockchip Electronics Co. Ltd., and offer 16Gb local storage. Google, whose Chrome operating system runs the devices, is offering 100Gb storage for two years to buyers, based on information on the online shopping sites. The sellers are also offering 32GB microSD cards as part of the purchase package.
Selling these laptops on Amazon and Snapdeal targets a different market that consists of some 50 million middle class Indian households, which have some form of Internet access. A cheap laptop backed by Google that offers out-of-the-box utilities including basic word processing, email, video chatting and Internet surfing might find buyers among some of these households.
The easy availability of prepaid 3G wireless dongles in India may also make these laptops more attractive for everyone from students to professionals, offering far greater convenience in writing emails or creating word documents, notes and so on than a touch screen smartphone.