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Kids Tablets: A bitter-sweet pill to swallow?

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Gone are the days when kids would be content with playing with their parents’ gizmos or hand-me-down tablets as their parents upgrade to a new version. If the buzzing activity in the kids-friendly tablet industry, with its edutainment-centric positioning is anything to go by, it is fast becoming a competitive and highly potential landscape.

In a bid to target this growing market, Inspan Infotech, an IT distribution company, has launched a new, upgraded version of its kids tablet, Genius Kids Designer II pen tablet.

Priced at Rs 3,860, the tablet is targeted towards young kids in the age-bracket of 3-8 years. Positioned as an ‘idea generator’, it is designed to serve educational purposes such as developing children’s math and other learning skills with its game software as well as for enjoyment and recreation.

Sudhir S, Managing Director, Inspan Infotech.

On the rationale behind launching a tablet for such a young age-group and the likely purpose that it will serve, S Sudhir, Managing Director, Inspan Infotech, explains that infotainment is gradually gaining entry into both classrooms and homes and influencing the ways of teaching and learning. “Kids are exposed to newer ways of quenching their curiosity. It is the call of the day that we need to respond and respond in a positive way keeping in mind the challenges of this trend. Hence, the need of this tablet, which enables kids to their different all time favourite activities besides learning,” he says.

Childs play?
The Designer II pen tablet takes forward from its earlier version which was launched in 2010 and pegged as an exclusive pen tablet for children along with being the first such product in India by any vendor.
Though the sequel appears to follow the same pricing model as that of Genius Kids Designer I tablet, it claims to be a step ahead in terms of the in-built applications, games and speed.

According to Sudhir, Inspan, with its two models for kids, is the only brand in the tablet segment for this specific age group and has no other direct competition. However, it is difficult to gauge the success of the first model since company did not share any sales or growth figures.

Earlier this year, Micromax also launched its content rich and much awaited Funbook, a tablet that runs on the ice cream sandwich (Android 4) operating system. Positioned as a student friendly tablet, Funbook is different from Genius when it comes to the target group. However, with the core target audience for both brands remaining young children, albeit from differing age-groups, Genius will have to compete with the well-known Micromax, which has been pursuing aggressive marketing campaigns to build awareness and connect for Funbook.

Sudhir seems to disagree. According to him, Genius is a well established name in the segment that it operates in India, which is totally different from that of Funbook. “We are targeting 3-8 years, which is the most important time for any kid to learn and understand, during this age kids will learn faster given that this is their formative years. Hence our tablets are feature filled keeping the interest of this age group,” he says.

Prriya Raj, Brand Management & Communications Expert , MICA

Prriya Raj, Brand Management & Communications Expert , MICA

Prriya Raj, Brand Management & Communications Expert, MICA feels that the features, look and feel of Genius seem to be basic in nature, resembling the products that used to exist in the market till a few years ago and as a result it might not appeal greatly to kids. Micromax, on the other hand, according to Raj, doesn’t carry the baggage of its low price in its look.

Raj further adds that if Micromax were to launch a Micromax Junior, with an option to upgrade to the next level later on, it would pose a tough competition for Genius.

Isn’t the seemingly high price for a product targeted towards kids another negative? Sudhir is of the opinion that the tablets pricing can be termed as aggressive but definitely not premium for the kind of application it has to offer. “It is our feedback from the parents that ratifies the pricing given that the positive change that has been seen in their kids using this tablet,” he explains.

Raj does not seem to find the high price a bane either. “Since it is not really positioned as an educational package at present, it will work well for gift purposes and price will not be that much a consideration,” he opines.

From a marketing and communication standpoint, besides leveraging the traditional and conventional sales approach like channel partners, the company is also looking to gain a good share from institutional sales besides aligning with e-commerce partners. While the tablet will be available pan-India, including third and fourth tier cities, the company refused to divulge details about its partners.




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