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Low-cost tablets become a hit in Brazil

Foreign and national brands fight for an ever-growing market niche
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As sales of tablet computers continue to rise in Brazil, manufacturers are investing in the very lucrative business of making low-cost devices for the masses.

Huge demand from consumers who cannot afford higher-spec devices from the likes of Apple or Samsung - or simply want to give the technology a try - means the Brazilian high street is now awash with tablets costing R$300 ($123) or less.

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According to technology analyst IT Data, low-cost devices represent 64 percent of all tablets sold in Brazil in the second quarter of 2013. 

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Many cheaper tablets on offer in Brazil are manufactured by Chinese companies, often unheard of by most Brazilians. According to Ivair Rodrigues, an analyst at research firm IT Data, there is still a consumer appetite for those devices, despite the lower quality standards.

"Last week, a large Brazilian retailer was selling [Chinese] tablets for R$249 ($102), but they are actually disposable. If there is an issue, the retailer will just replace it instead of messing around with customer support," Rodrigues says.

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New Brazilian companies are jumping on the cheap tablet bandwagon. Some of the most recognizable national brands include Amvox, which is located in the countryside of the Bahia state and DL, a Minas Gerais-based manufacturer.

Back in 2004, when DL started its operations, the initials stood for "Doce Lar" ("Sweet Home", in Portuguese) and the firm made eletric rice cookers. Today, DL means Digital Life and the company expects to produce at least two million tablets this year. 

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According to the Brazilian Electronics Industry Association (Abinee) the tablet market will represent 30 percent of the Brazilian computer market by the end of 2013. The bullish predictions also meant that other Brazilian firms more traditionally known for their presence in different electronics segments also sought to claim their slice of the tablet pie.

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TecToy, a Brazilian manufacturer better known for its gaming consoles, has now added low-cost tablets for kids and adults to its offering. 

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CCE, another Brazilian company that initially made stereos and VHS players, was bought out by Chinese electronics firm Lenovo in 2012 and started making low-cost tablets this year. The company has recently announced that it will start manufacturing tablets based on Qualcomm reference designs and its Snapdragon processors.

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