Acer is an information and communication technology company dedicated to the research, design, marketing, sale and support of innovative products that enhance people’s lives. Acer’s green supply chain delivers environmentally friendly PCs, displays, projectors, servers, tablets and smartphones — tools our customers need to explore beyond limits and experience more. In an interview with S. Rajendran, Chief Marketing Officer, Acer India on the tablet market and the company initiatives in 2014. Excerpts of the interview:
How do you look at the Indian tablet market landscape?
Tablet PCs are swiftly closing the gap between smartphones and computers, becoming the device-of-choice for both consuming and creating content. The growing app ecosystem, increased Wi-Fi proliferation, and development of mobile broadband networks such as 3G & 4G have resulted in tablets becoming the preferred form factor for accessing the internet on-the-move, perfectly fulfilling consumer needs for lightweight computing and portable entertainment. Addressing consumer desire for portable computing, we recently launched the 8-inch Windows 8.1 powered Iconia W4 tablet in India. Buoyed by the increased tablet uptake in the Indian market, especially the education and enterprise sector, we see tremendous potential in the tablet market.
How is this market shaping up for this year and beyond?
Last year was a challenging one for the entire PC industry, but there is a lot more optimism about 2014 fuelled by better positive consumer sentiments and stability in the exchange rates. Going forward, we anticipate good traction for tablets in both the consumer and enterprise segments. The global tablet market is expected to be 50% of the total PC market, and it is poised to ship 285 million units by the end of this year. In India on account of growing discernment by the consumer, poor usage experience with unbranded/white box Tablets, and stricter laws for compliance with safety standards we see a shift in customer preference for quality products from branded players.
What would be your market strategy to garner more market share?
This year looks very promising and we have a strong roadmap in place to tap the tablet PC market; with rising preference for tablet adoption, we expect the category to grow manifold. We have launched tablet PCs on both Windows as well as Android platforms on different form factors and have aggressive plans to further expand our product line up in this category. Our entire ecosystem is being tuned to address the tablet market and effectively deliver our promise of breaking barriers between people and technology. Our focus would be in both the spaces of Consumer and Commercial.
Where is the big growth for tablets going to come from?
As stated earlier, tablets are rapidly gaining user preference since they present the ideal mix of performance and portability. Thus apart from the Consumer segment, we also see good scope for tablets in the Commercial space in India especially in education, government, and SMB/SME/SOHO segments. We have been active in higher education and K12, both in the government and private education space. With touch interface becoming the primary UI and the utility function of a device increasingly governing consumer decision making, we foresee exciting times ahead in terms of the tablet form factor gaining momentum.
What kind of innovative products do you have in plan for the year 2014?
We have an exciting mix of products to offer our consumers this year. Our product portfolio will have both Windows and Android platform based devices, in various innovative form factors on different hardware platforms.
How important is tablet form factor today for catching hold of customers?
These are interesting times, the consumer has evolved and we are seeing a marked change in the buying behaviour of consumers across various segments. The consumers’ increasing preference for lightweight portable computing devices, coupled with the country’s younger demographics is fuelling the demand for tablets. The increasingly mobile corporate workforce needs devices enabling them to remain productive on the move. The tablet form factor is therefore gaining tremendous traction in the consumer segment as well as the enterprise sector.
What is your opinion on applications for tablets?
There are a plethora of consumer-centric applications already available to users in the market. From a commercial standpoint, we see customers demanding enterprise-specific applications. The platforms we offer are quite capable of scaling up to the demands in the Commercial segment. And we have seen some large enterprise wins on Acer Iconia tablets both on Android and Windows in the last few months.
How can enterprise community gain more tablets? Do you have any plans to target business users specifically?
Enterprise adoption of tablets will primarily be driven by suitability of the devices to provide robust performance, security, manageability and compatibility with enterprise class applications. The lightweight form factor and ease of use have driven a lot of enterprise companies to adopt tablet PCs in the workplace. We already see a buzz regarding tablets amongst our existing customers from BFSI, Corporate & SMB segments. We have started making inroads into the commercial segment, with some major initial wins from key verticals.