Friday, January 29, 2010

Infibeam Pi : Indian Kindle ?

Brand : Infibeam Pi
Company :

Brand Analysis Count # 442

It is very risky to write about a product before it is launched in the market. Many marketing commentators have failed in predicting the success of a product before being practically launched in the market.

Infibeam Pi can be termed as India's answer to Amazon Kindle. Pi is an e-book reader from . Infibeam is one of the largest Business to Consumer portals in India. The company which was launched in 2007 also has one of the largest inventory of books. Infibeam is promoted by Mr Vishal Mehta who chucked his juicy job in USA to pursue his entrepreneurial passion .

Pi is a product like the world famous Amazon Kindle. This e-book reader comes with the same technology of E-ink that the Kindle uses. The form factor also is strikingly similar. But what comes as the biggest coup of all sorts is the price. While Kindle is shipped to India at a price of about Rs 18,000, Pi is priced at Rs 9999 ( introductory offer).

In one of my earlier posts, I had written that the aggressive high pricing of globally successful brands in India can lead to opening up opportunities that other players can grab. Pi is one such striking example.

Amazon had to price its Kindle at Rs 18,000 + because of duties and taxes .Such a globally famous product launching in India created enough buzz and virtually created a market for e-readers in India. Infibeam Pi became the first Indian brand to take advantage of that buzz. To add to the buzz, the launch of iPad also has significantly increased the consumer interest in the market for e-book readers in India.

In that scenario, the launch of Pi is very significant. Although Pi definitely have a first mover advantage, the path is not so smooth. The product is impressive. Pi comes with an expandable memory slot and also can play music. The company claims a battery charge life of 7 days. The brand can read a wide range of formats like Pdf,Mob, Doc etc . ( Read specs here). To complement the reader, Infibeam also has an e-book store which has a good collection of books in the electronic format.

The major marketing issue for Pi is to develop the market for e-book readers. Even though Indian consumers are aware about such a product, Pi needs to change the reading habits of the consumers to a certain extent. It starts with the purchasing of e-books and the first convincing is that e-book which is non-physical offers the same value as the book ( physical). Second convincing is about the reading habit. Consumers need to experience the product first inorder to understand the convenience of using an e-book reader. He needs to feel that he gets the same effect when he reads a physical book.

Infibeam also has a tough task of establishing trust in the potential users. Many consumers are not aware of such a company existing. The launch of Pi gave the Infibeam lot of PR but Infibeam needs to establish its credentials because consumers look for trust while purchasing a durable item like a e-book reader.

Since this is an electronic device , there will be lot of apprehensions about the quality , durability and servicability of Pi. Infibeam, being a portal, will have to convince the customer that it will be able to provide service support in case something goes wrong. If the consumer has to ship the product to avail the service, it is not going to help the product to get accepted fast. Infibeam should convince the consumer about the battery life and whether this product can be serviced/repaired in the event of a complaint. I am sure that the product will work fine for the first year but after that ? The best way for Pi is to give a 5 year warranty that will add lot of value for the brand. This will prompt those doubtful consumers to free up their purse strings without waiting for reviews or peer feedback.

Being a platform like a e-store and selling a device are two different ball game. Google recently understood that when it launched its first device Nexus One. Durables needs a channel which can sell and support the product . Otherwise it will be the consumers who will feel stranded when they face product related issues. In the case of Infibeam Pi also, the brand has to create a proper service network before venturing into selling Pi in a big way.

Infibeam has introduced the right product at the right price. As a consumer , I would be happy if the price comes down by a couple of thousands. Now what Infibeam has to do is to build a business architecture around this device. If the products performs well and the service is accessible and good, Infibeam has a winner in hand and Kindle will have to forget the Indian market.


  1. Anonymous8:15 PM

    The device looks similar to Kindle as well as the website down to the logo.....
    This does not augur too well for Indian companies and the so called Indian Entrepreneurs... Atleast some originality folks

  2. Aathira2:24 AM

    @ Harish
    This brand is seriously making India proud. But i wonder whether this brand would be able to create a market in India. Its true Kindle has caused a buzz across the world but are Indian customers ready for off beat brands??? Consider Reva, a great invention from Bangalore. It had made waves in European markets but it never really took off in India(as far as i know)... For a start up company, with low brand awareness this was a huge break!!! The segment which will go for something an ebook reader would be usually the books who could afford 18000!!! will they invest in a new brand?Wonder how they are going to build a brand(that too before kindle strikes)? looking for your comments author!!!

  3. For a new player, it is a good strategy to emulate the leader be it in product features or in marketing strategy.

  4. After iPad arrival, Kindle may take a beating as its ebook market share will go down. People looking for alternatives to iPad/Kindle may look at the infibeam Pi. I wonder y its logo looks like Amazon "And you are done" logo strikingly similar. I am not sure what kind of books will be available for the Pi, whether it will support ePub format, etc. The availability of strong reading list A-list recommended books is important to drive the adoption of any ebook reader.

  5. @Mohan, there are rumours of Infibeam to be a potential candidate for amazon takeover in future..

  6. A good start by an Indian but for this product to sell the price of the device has to come down tby approx 6000-7000 INR .

    Secondly this device should sell through market with service centres across atleast all the major cities to start with.

    And lastly the pricing of the ebooks is atrocious e.g. "The Lost Symbol" By "Dan Brown" costs 991 INR in ebook format AND 454 INR for the hardbound edition at .Why would a person by a reading device when the digital book is costing so much .

    Ideally the ebbok should be 1/4 of the price of the hardbound.

    Its my sincere advice to Mr. Vishal Mehta that india is a price sensitive market and for this device to sell the above points should be considered .

  7. Amar is right, the digital edition has traditionally always been *much less than the physical edition. If Pi is to succeed in Indian market, it needs price adjustment in its available books and its needs to make clear whether and which Indian language books are supported. Because, people may convert their vernacular novels into epub format and would like to know whether these are viewable on the Pi. Their specs doesnt clearly say which Indian languages are supported.

  8. @Harish,
    I agree with aathira on the fact that this book is making India proud. But I beg to differ on the segement that is being referred to . Aren't we today in a age of opensource, and don't most indian ebook readers get their ebooks for free?. So won't this just follow the music revolution ,where ppl download music for free for their wonderful gadgets?

  9. Hey all the people who are feeling "proud" over the first Indian e-book reader, please be informed that this device is not made by Infibeam. The device is actually eSlick, made by Foxit Software ( which in-turn used the hardware of Netronix EB-600 and bundled with its Foxit PDF reader. Now Infibeam has just changed the branding from eSlick to Pi, removed the 2GB SD card from standard packeging and hence reduced the price. Just compare the images and specifications from and and you'll find that they are exactly the same.

    However, that does not mean that its not a great device. I've been drooling over eSlick and just waiting for the price to come down. Looks like my wait is over.

    Watch the review of this device here:

  10. It a fact it has not been manufactured in india .it is a rebranded white-label (OEM) product from chinese OEM manufacturer C-Double Tek from Guangdong.
    Some of the other clones are
    Foxit eSlick
    iRiver Libre
    Bookeen Cybook Gen3
    Astak Mentor
    C-Double Tek's ve100.
    These days every thing is being manufactured in china , due to lower costs.
    But the good thing about pi is that it has been the first device launched in india .
    so if you buy pi you will get 1 year warrantty in india .
    That is a big thing before buying any item.
    on the other hand you buy a kindle or sony prs you will have to pay the shipping 40$ and custom duties around 100$ raising its cost to 350$ without any warranty.

    So, if you live in india buying pi is the sensible thing .
    And who knows your kindle eslick or pi may be getting manufactured in the same plant in china .
    so think before you buy

  11. Looks like compitition is getting hotter in e-reader market in india.
    Good news for book lovers in india is that after Infibeam Pi, another Indian company EC Media, owned by Kerala-based DC Books, has said that it will launch an e-reader by late March or early April.
    The new EC Media e-reader will cost around Rs 8000 to Rs 18000.

    Here i would like to say only one thing to the prospective buyers , Just wait and watch for some time you will get your money's worth


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