Yahoo targets new-to-net users on DataWind’s tablet

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The Indian tablet market is seeing a flurry of low cost tablets especially targeting the education sector. The latest one to join the race is DataWind’s Ubislate7 +, which is slated to launch some time soon. To make its offering more relevant to the end consumer, the Android based tablet has joined hands with Yahoo India, to enable Yahoo! services on its platform.

Thus, the yet to be launched tablet will come preloaded with Yahoo! Cricket as the exclusive cricket application along with the popular Yahoo! Mail app. The Yahoo! India Homepage will be the default browser landing page for Ubislate7+.

The partnership with DataWind is expected to strengthen Yahoo!’s continued focus on growing the new-to-net user-base in India. Since the device is targeting the education sector and positioned as affordable, Yahoo is planning to offer users from all socio-economic strata the chance to use the Web – communicating with people and consuming content most relevant to them.

Nitin Mathur, Senior Director & Head of Marketing, India and South-East Asia, Yahoo!, adds, “Internet usage is booming in India. 2011 saw us cross the 100 million users mark. By 2015, India is poised to have about 237 million Internet users, and will be second only to US in user numbers. Today, a large chunk of Internet usage happens through smart phones and connected devices. Mobile usage is growing rapidly and embracing smaller towns and cities too. A new wave of new-to-net users will actually experience the Web for the first time through their mobile device and not the PC. A low-cost device like the Ubislate7+ opens up the ‘connected’ market to a large section of new users, including students, who might have otherwise found the cost of a smart phone or tablet prohibitive. At the same time, we see that unlike the West, Internet users in India are largely in the range of 15-24 years and trending younger. In smaller towns and cities, people turn to the Internet for information, communication, education and entertainment.”

Nitin Mathur

Nitin Mathur, Senior Director & Head of Marketing, India and South-East Asia, Yahoo

On its part, Ubislate 7+ will offer anytime and anywhere internet access via GPRS and WiFi. Priced at Rs 2,999, the tablet is claimed to be the only Android device in the Indian market to offer DataWind’s patented UbiSurfer browser. DataWind will also enable data plans for less than Rs 100 for anytime anywhere internet access bringing in a new segment of users who have been left out of the internet age.

On Yahoo’s strategy to target first time users and hence expanding its consumer base, Arun Tadanki, Managing Director, India & Southeast Asia, Yahoo! said, “The launch of Ubislate7+ will see a new wave of new-to-net users, using Internet for the very first time. Through this partnership, we will have the opportunity to bring Yahoo!’s premium content & communication experience to new internet users in a simple and intuitive way.”

Arun Tadanki,Managing Director, India & Southeast Asia, Yahoo!

Mathur further explains, “As far as creating new consumers is concerned, we have multiple initiatives in that direction. Last year, we ran the Learn with Yahoo! program to educate new to net users about the Internet and its benefits. Custom built e-learning module created by NIIT was installed at 2,500 Internet cafes across 50 cities in India. On completion of the module, users would actually be able to use the Internet with their very own email ID, and would be given a completion certificate. With strong ground activation run in many local cybercafes across India, the program reached to about 15 million people.” Yahoo has catered to rising demand for regional language content on the Web. It invests in building language content on Yahoo! India in partnerships with publishers. Hindi was the first language to be launched a couple of years back. And in the last 6-8 months, four new languages were released to strengthen regional connect.

Commenting further on the partnership, Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, DataWind said, “Yahoo! is a leading global digital media brand with market-leading content and communication services. Through this partnership we look forward to facilitating the use of Yahoo’s popular online content by people who have not been touched by the Internet revolution so far.”

Hence, competition in the tablet category seems to be heating up with a host of other players launching low cost tablets particularly, eyeing the large demand from the education sector. Among these are Micromax’s FunBook, HCL ME, Karbonn (yet to launch), Telmoco Development’s Attitude Daksha, and of course their predecessor Akash, an initiative of the Indian government. And it seems that the market for low cost Android devices is being seriously pushed further by digital media companies such as Yahoo and Google.



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