After the XOLO X900, ASUS and Intel India has forayed into the seven inch phablet category by announcing the launch of ASUS Fonepad. Pegged at Rs 15,999, the device aims at giving the brand a competitive edge over its competitors with the versatility of a 3G tablet as well as calling features of a smartphone, combined with the latest Intel Atom processor Z2420 running on Android 4.1 OS.
Sandeep Aurora, Director-Marketing, Intel South Asia says that the primary and the lead bidder is ASUS in this venture.â€œWe want to educate the retail sales people about the use of the product. It is for them to experience and then decide if they would like to go ahead with the device.â€
In terms of promoting at the mass media front is concerned, Aurora says, â€œIt will be ASUSâ€™ call not Intelâ€™s. This is like any other partnership with other OEMs, they are our customers and we work jointly with them to take the message across to the consumers about the differentiation that Intel Inside brings,â€ he adds.
ASUS India claims to have 73 exclusive stores in the country with an aim of having about 70 more soon. These exclusive outlets have phonebooks, notebooks and tablets. Also, selective stores along with Cromaoutlets, will be selling the Fonepad starting from April 30.
Peter Chang, Regional Director, South Asia and Country Manager, System Business Group, ASUS India says that, since this is a new concept the brand needs to measure, catch the idea and know how to use it. â€œWe will try to put focus on end users and see that they experience the product in the shop and outdoors as well,â€ he opines. Further adding, â€œWe will be having some ATL activations but we know that purely ATL will not make the end user understand what kind of product this is. We are still finalising ATL and we will be ready with a few options soon.â€ As a part of its ATL, ASUS uses the print media for all its other products publicity but for the phone pad it will first star with experiential marketing.
On asking experts on whether experiential marketing will be enough for the brand in a cluttered market, Bharat Nagpal, Technology Consultant, iGyaan explains that in terms of the availability of devices, a lot of phablets are available, but what ASUS has essentially done is given the consumer a brand value vs a knock off or a Chinese or a lower end market brand. â€œASUS has an edge here because it is running on an Intel chipset and has phone calling capabilities, it is a decent price point but could have been a little cheaper,â€ he adds.
With a mid premium price point, ASUS tends to focus more on BTL and lay emphasis on the youth. Chang thinks that at an initial stage the consumers will be younger people, â€œbut now days it is very hard to say since it is projected that smartphone is for the youth but there is a big spill over in the age group who uses the product. We are starting from the young people but we will not limit ourselves since the digital convergence will attract others as well,â€ he adds.
Fonepad features a sleek metallic design, a HD IPS display with wide viewing angles. It will be available in 8GB capacity and will feature a microSD slot for up to 32GB additional storage claiming a nine hour battery life. Barring the features, will the launch help the brand increase its equity in India?
â€œAs far as ASUS is concerned, they have not been present in front of the consumerâ€™s eye, nobody else but they are to be blamed for this.As far as their brand recall is concerned,the Google Nexus has been a great vantage point for ASUS and a device like this will give them a higher ground asthe Nexus is more expensive than Fonepad which has more or less the same features plus an Intel processor. Hence, a lot of people will try to get their hands on this,â€ adds Nagpal.
According to internal reports, ASUSâ€™ revenue for 2011 was approximately $11.9 billion and as of September 2012, the brand is estimated to be worth $ 1.6 billion, claiming to be the among the top three consumer notebook vendor in the world.
Internally ASUS is looking at 15 per cent market share in the tablet category in 2013. â€œThe difficulty to come out with a conclusion for the rank of the product or the share is that this category is not mature as there are lots of vendors that are coming out with a products every now and then,â€ says Chang.