The Chromebook has a decent market share in the U.S. and U.K., and while Google sought to emulate a similar strategy in India, that hasn't worked. There weren't many Chromebook models to start with, and those that were available were priced on par with or higher than their Windows-based rivals, and as a result Chrome OS didn't really take off in the country at all.
That could change in the coming months, as Google just announced that it is teaming up with HP to make the best Chromebooks locally. The notebooks will be made at Flex's manufacturing facility near Chennai, which HP has been using for just over three years now. The move allows Google to price Chromebooks much more aggressively in the region, and with the brand aiming to hit a sub-₹20,000 ($240), there's a chance that Chrome OS devices can make some inroads into India.
As is the case with other markets, Google is betting on the education sector to drive a bulk of the sales. We'll have to wait and see how that pans out, but given that India is primarily value-driven market, affordable Chromebooks that undercut their Windows counterparts by a significant margin should see a decent amount of momentum.
If you're wondering why Google is focusing on India after all these years, it could be down to two factors. There's huge potential for the category as a whole, and with the Indian government mandating local manufacturing for hardware products, brands had to scramble to set up assembly lines in the country.
To boost manufacturing efforts under the "Make in India" program, the government has decided to levy huge duties on imported PCs — which make up most of the notebooks sold in India — so most manufacturers are now teaming up with local facilities to "make" their devices in the country. The move is similar to what goes on with Android phones, with all manufacturers — barring Google — selling locally-produced devices.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.