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"For Modern Day Tablets And Smartphones, Android Has Become A Default"  
 
Diksha P Gupta from EFYTimes.com spoke to Indrajit Sabharwal, managing director, Simmtronics Semiconductors Ltd, about the company’s product line up and strategy. Read on...    
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Sunday, September 15, 2013 Simmtronics is becoming one of the most frequently mentioned names in the world of smartphones and tablets. The Indian manufacturer has launched a series of Android devices in the past few months because of the growing popularity of the Android platform and the firm’s capability to offer cut-throat competition to the other OEMs. Diksha P Gupta from EFYTimes.com spoke to Indrajit Sabharwal, managing director, Simmtronics Semiconductors Ltd, about the company’s product line up and strategy. Read on...

Simmtronics, Simmtronics tablets, Simmtronics semiconductors, Smartphones, Windows 8, Android tablets, Android smartphones, smartphone, Indrajit Sabharwal




Simmtronics seems to be banking big on the tablets market, despite having a presence in many other segments. What are your views on the tablet market segment in the country and how important is it for your business?

Simmtronics is the only tablet OEM in India, which is making an Indian tablet in the true sense. We are manufacturing our tablet devices in our facilities in India. So, what we are offering is a truly Indian high quality product, unlike many other market players who import their devices from China. Besides, the tablet PC segment is where we will continue to see tremendous growth. Tablets are set to take over PCs. They will soon become the biggest medium of content consumption. So as an OEM, to survive in this competitive market, we have to bring out products that are compelling. I think we are doing that successfully, with our range of Xpad devices. In fact, we have launched three tablets in April.

Can you tell us more about your recently launched tablet PCs?

Sure. We have launched two tablets called XPAD Simm-X722 and XPAD Simm-X802. The former offers a 17.7-cm (7-inch) capacitive touchscreen, multi touch G+G with 2G and 3G support. It comes with a SIM slot and is packed with 512 RAM DDR3 and 4GB internal memory. The tablet comes packed with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, an A8 chipset, a 1.0GHz processor and a 3500mAh battery. Its USP is that it supports 2G calling and sports a sleek body, which makes it easier for users to carry around.

The XPAD Simm-X802 offers both 2G and 3G support and is a single SIM tablet. It sports a 20.3-cm (8-inch) capacitive touchscreen with a 800 X 600 resolution. The tablet comes packed with 512 MB RAM along with 8 GB internal memory expandable up to 32 GB. It runs Google's Android 4.0 (ICS) operating system and has an A10 Cortex A8 chipset. The XPAD Simm-X802 comes with a multi core 1.2GHz processor. The tablet comes with pre-loaded apps, including a Web browser, a super-HD player, music, a calculator, Gmail, calendar, play store, a clock, Youtube, a camera, a PDF file viewer, Documents To Go, a sound recorder, Skype, Gtalk, Latitude, Maps, Messaging, People, Phone, one browser, Stick cricket and Bigflix. It has a 4000 mAh battery.

Apart from these, we have introduced a quad-core tablet PC as well with the Android Jelly Bean operating system, which is being offered at a pretty affordable price. The tablet is the first-of-its-kind in the world. It is capable of playing four videos simultaneously…yes, users can view four videos on one screen, all at the same time.

We also have plans to foray into the smartphone segment with our products XPAD Smartphone X1 and XPAD Smartphone X2. While XPAD Smartphone X1 will run Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, XPAD Smartphone X2 will run on the Android Jelly Bean operating system. These are single core and dual core smartphones, respectively, and we are looking at bringing out a quad-core smartphone as well.

Simmtronics has launched a 25.4-cm (10-inch) tablet —the XPAD X-1010—in the Indian market. Not many players have ventured into this screen-size segment. What prompted you to explore this space?

We are a tablet manufacturing company. So, our focus has been to bring out offerings across the board. Launching a 25.4-cm (10-inch) tablet is a part of that strategy. Also, I feel that consumers are looking at tablets as their source of entertainment while on the go. Watching videos and playing games is a totally different experience on a tablet of this size. We, being a technology company, work to have an edge over others with our innovations and technology. A 25.4-cm tablet is one such offering. It has been accepted well across the country.

What is your strategy for selling these tablet devices?

We want to target the age group of 15-28 years with our tablet devices. We design our products keeping the needs and aspirations of only this target group in mind. We have been working through our distributor and channel network for the sale of our devices. We have recently joined hands with HCL for the distribution of our devices. I am sure this is going to boost the presence and availability of Simmtronics devices tremendously, particularly in the regions we were not able to reach till now. Also, we are looking to enter into tie-ups with Large Format Retail (LFR) chains.

Apart from manufacturing your own products, do you manufacture products for other OEMs as well?

Yes, we manufacture products for about seven different OEMs in India including Micromax and Sahara. Apart from these, we manufacture for three international OEMs as well.

One major criticism of Simmtronics tablets is that they look pretty similar to Micromax's offerings. How would you respond to that?

Well, I don't think we are similar to Micromax's offerings in any way. We are much better than them in many ways. In addition to a great package of features and specifications, with our tablet devices, the customers get free Wi-Fi access in 5000 outlets across the country including McDonalds, CocoBerry, Cafe Coffee Day, etc. I can claim that the advantages that we are offering, no tablet company has offered before. So we clearly have the upper hand. Simmtronics was recently ranked as No 3 amongst tablet manufacturers globally. The speed at which we can deliver new technologies and customise a product as per market requirements is our USP and makes us different from any of the Indian players, at least.

What about after sales service for your products?

We have around 500 service centres across India, so after sales service is not an issue for our products.

It is now time for phablets. What is your take on this growing segment?

The phablet is the combination of a smartphone and a tablet, starting from a size of 12.7-cm (5-inch). If someone thinks that 'phablets' can replace tablets, they are mistaken. The experience is totally different. A smartphone, irrespective of its screen-size, cannot cater to the requirements that a tablet can meet. Tablets have a different set of applications and offer an entirely different experience. You may be able to watch a video on a smartphone but it is certainly not the ideal device to watch a movie on. This is where tablets play a role. We like to call our 12.7-cm devices as smartphones and not phablets.

So you don't buy Samsung's concept of phablets?

No, I am not too convinced with this logic that there can be a hybrid of smartphones and tablets. Both the devices have their own features and experiences to offer.

Any reasons for choosing Android as a platform for all your devices and not Windows 8?

Yes. First, Windows 8 has its own limitations. For modern day tablets and smartphones, Android has become the default. Android has a couple of open source alternatives already. Ubuntu for smartphones and tablets looks attractive. We will be watching out for developments with respect to Ubuntu but will take a final call on how the eco-system shapes up. As far as Windows 8 is concerned, we do not have any immediate plans to work with the software.



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