Philippines' homegrown tablet seen to take market by storm

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Betting on Web-based gadgets to be the next big thing in the Philippines after mobile phones, the Solid Group of the Lim family plans to offer before Christmas a homegrown tablet for a third of the price of leading global tablets.

The 7-inch mass tablets, to be sold under the brand MyPad, will be priced between 7,000 (US$162) pesos to 9,000 pesos ($208). It will run on an Android platform, featuring a dual SIM card mobile phone function, Solid Group Inc. president David Lim told the Inquirer.

According to SGI, a leading mobile phone handset provider, tablets, not smartphones, will become the most sought-after gadget in the Philippines.

"With all of the Web computing technology coming out, the Internet or Web will be the main [tool], and with the tablet, it's more enjoyable to use it," Lim said. "You will see the tablets becoming more powerful and maybe replacing the netbooks."

With this in mind, the Solid Group and its partners decided to come out with a gadget perfect for the mass market--the same market that enabled SGI's MyPhone cellular brand to succeed, Lim said.

SGI hopes to launch the tablet at the end of the third quarter of this year, he said.

Apple, a leading provider of tablets, currently sells its iPads for close to 24,000 pesos ($555) apiece.

At present, SGI is making sure that the platform will be suitable for the market.

"For us, one part of our success is ... the price point, which Filipinos can afford," Lim said.

Before MyPhone came into the market, Lim said 80 percent of mobile handsets distributed in the country were controlled by telco providers.

When SGI started introducing cheaper phones, and as other players came in, Lim said 90 percent of the market had been "opened," and the telcos' share had been reduced to 10 percent of the market.

SGI hopes to make MyPhone, now the second biggest player in the local market, the number one brand by the end of the year as it expects to sell more than two million handsets.

"In my 40 years in business, I've never been in a business that has grown so fast. This year, we might be hitting more than 4 billion pesos ($92 million) in sales," Lim said.

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