Zenith launches Rs 25k laptop, targets entry-level customers

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New Delhi, Oct 3 (UNI) Ushering in fresh competition in the laptop segment, leading PC maker Zenith today launched its new range of products with Intel Core Duo processor priced at Rs 24,990.

''The laptop segment will get a boost spurred by a 74 per cent growth and prices going lower,'' said Zenith CMD Raj Saraf.

The move is expected to bring down laptop prices by international vendors. Mr Saraf expects the prices to come down by 14-15 per cent. ''But the given configuration is difficult to match up to,'' said Mr Saraf.

We could have brought out a Rs 19,990 laptop, but we do not want to recreate the 10K desktop debacle, where the softwares were not available, he added.

The comapny is targetting entry-level customers. ''This will benefit the students and all those who want to own a PC as its price is alomost that of a desktop,'' said Mr Saraf.

The laptops will be equipped with Microsoft Vista Starter edition. Microsoft India MD Neelam Dhawan said that affordability remains an important factor when it came to accepting new technology and would impact the success of Microsoft Vista as well.

The laptops are available in three models--Admirale, Director and Presidio--priced at Rs 28,490, Rs 24,990 and Rs 27,990 respectively.

''The machines come equipped with an Intel Core Duo processor, compared to Celeron that is available with most other vendors,'' said Mr Saraf.

The customers will also have an option top upgrade from Vista Starter to Basic and higher by paying the marginal difference, he added.

When asked if Zenith will bring laptops on the AMD platform, which might bring the cost down further, Mr Saraf said, ''its a misconception that the cost will come down with AMD. In fact, the cost of processor is fractional in a laptop''.

Zenith remains hopeful of capturing a greater market share with these new models. The company expects to sell about 70,000 units (combined) by the end of this year. ''The manufacturing will be done from our existing plant in Goa and there are no plans of starting a new plant,'' Mr Saraf said.

The laptops will be available through the the existing 500 showrooms and outlets along with the dealerships spread across the country. ''We increase the number of our franchisee stores by 50-70 each year and this year will be no different.'' He also added that in the next two years, going by the growth in the laptop segment, the company's sales of laptops and desktops will reach a 50-50 production level.

''These days, even the home PC users are opting for laptops as they occupy less space and are more convenient, and this will further drive the growth in the sector,'' said Mr Saraf.

The company will also offer a 24-hour helpline for the corporate customers, in sync with the needs of India Inc.

UNI

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