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Reliance Jio Announces JioBook Budget Laptop with Built-in 4G SIM Card

Reliance Jio will launch a budget laptop priced at $184 (about Rs. 15,000) with a built-in 4G SIM card in an effort to replicate the success of its low-cost JioPhone in India’s highly price-sensitive market, two sources told Reuters.

The conglomerate, led by Mukesh Ambani, is partnering with global giants Qualcomm and Microsoft for the JioBook, with the former using its Arm-based computing chips and the Windows OS maker providing support for some applications.

Jio, India’s largest telecom operator with over 420 million customers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The laptop will be available to enterprise customers such as schools and governments starting this month, with a consumer launch expected within the next three months, the sources said. As with the JioPhone, it will be followed by a 5G version.

“It will be as big as the JioPhone,” one source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Since its launch late last year, the phone has been the best-selling sub-$100 (nearly Rs. 8,200) smartphone in India, accounting for a fifth of the market over the past three quarters. according to counterpoint.

The JioBook will be built locally by contract manufacturer Flex, one source said, with Jio aiming to sell “hundreds of thousands” of devices by March.

Total PC shipments to India last year were 14.8 million units, led by HP, Dell and Lenovo. according to research firm IDC.

According to Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak, the launch of the JioBook will expand the overall addressable notebook market segment by at least 15 percent.

The laptop will run Jio’s own operating system, JioOS, and apps can be downloaded from the JioStore. Jio also offers laptops as an alternative to tablets for corporate employees who are out of the office.

Jio, which has raised about $22 billion (nearly Rs 1,80,000) from global investors like KKR & Co and Silver Lake in 2020, is credited with disrupting the world’s second mobile market when it launched cheap 4G data plans and free voice services. in 2016 and later a 4G smartphone priced at just $81 (nearly Rs 6,600).

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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