Tablets using Marvell's Moby design in India soon

The company wants to achieve volumes with a product priced at below US$216

Tablet computers built to Marvell's Moby reference design should launch in India in the first half of this year, an executive of the company said on Thursday.

The chip company is partnering in India with consumer electronics vendors, mobile handset makers, and mobile service providers who will be offering the product under their own brands, said Anand Ramamoorthy, Marvell’s country head of sales and marketing in India, on Thursday. He did not disclose the names of the partners.

Marvell announced in March last year a US$99 prototype for a multimedia tablet targeted at education.

The basic configuration in India is likely to be priced closer to 10,000 rupees ($216) because of the high import duties and the cost of distribution in the country, Ramamoorthy said. In emerging markets, there isn’t a model whereby hardware costs are subsidized by service contracts, he added.

India and China will be the first among emerging markets where the tablets will ship, with plans to also introduce the products in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

As emerging markets are price-sensitive, Marvell’s strategy is to position a low-cost configuration as a volume product.

In India, the company is expecting its partners to deliver for 10,000 rupees a 7-inch tablet with a capacitive LCD screen, that will be built around the Armada 168 processor at 800 MHz, and offer 720p video and Wi-Fi connectivity. It will run the Android operating system and other open source software, Ramamoorthy said.

The actual price in these markets will depend on partners and their business and margin models, Ramamoorthy said. Some partners may decide to offer high-end, more expensive devices as well, he added.

Marvell will have two primary manufacturers globally, including Foxconn. Partners selling the tablets will however be free to choose manufacturers from a pool of Marvell’s manufacturing partners, Ramamoorthy said.

Recognizing that content is key in the education segment, the company has tied up with developers of content around the Android platform.

India’s government has announced previously that it is aiming to deliver a laptop costing $35 which will include government subsidies. The much-delayed project to deliver a laptop for education applications has however not been able to finalize a manufacturer for these devices, according to reports.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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