Friday, January 29, 2010

Notion Ink: Another attempt at making a device in India

Wow! Now I am really excited about this one... and I really wish they can come up with a successful business model for tablet devices in India.

In my last post I mentioned about Pi, the e-book reader to be sold in India, and was not very happy about lack of "innovation" there. I also mentioned that Simputer was a remarkable product, but failed miserably in market (to read more about my views on Simputer look here:

Now, a few guys ( have setup Notion Ink with the intent of creating a tablet for Indian market ( And apparently they were at the CES.

This is good going. However, again for this to be really successful (as in consumers and developers appreciating it) there are few factors that I feel are important:

- Why would one want this device? A compelling reason(s) on why some one from Bharat will save and spend on this device, rather than just buying a mobile phone.

- The software stack. Merely porting an existing Android will not help. May I repeat, it will not help! It needs to create a whole ecosystem around it. What differentiates it from other Android devices, say for instance what Dell plans to introduce?

- What particular advantage is this device going to offer culturally? As in, culture in India. This is largely a software issue, and I think there is a lot of interesting things that can be done in this space, which address to some extent the above two points.

- Software developers are very important. You have to be able to attract "mindshare" in large numbers and it needs to be specific to your device. This cannot be just off the stock Android.

- Finally, price is a very (very) important issue in India. It has to be very rational.

I really wish that I can work with these guys. These are some of the issues that I would really like to address and seem fairly challenging to me.

(Update: The specs are out now, still no news on how the software and sevices will stack up, but the device has quite interesting usage scenarios. The rotatable camera is something that is cool design :) In any case, as of now this is definitely innovative than that Jojoo or Crunch Pad, or what ever...)

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