Nine years on, the government’s affordable laptop, the Doyle, has yet to become a consumer laptop. He could not write his name in the shopping list of the government department. However, during this period, domestic private companies have established their own laptop brand in the market. Why couldn’t Doyle?
Doyle started production for the purpose of supplying home-made laptops within the purchasing power of the people. The telephone industry company (Tesis) gets the responsibility. Doyle was part of the current government’s Digital Bangladesh program. On October 11, 2011, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the laptop. In the last ten years, little by little, Bangladesh has gone digital. But Doyle could not be an icon of digital Bangladesh. Why?
Tesis had originally created doyels for some government institutions after receiving demand letters. Apart from this, some laptops are sold at the sales center of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL). Doyle could not match the wings because of these limited boundaries?
According to the Bangladesh Computer Society (BCS), the demand for computers and laptops in the country is around five lakh every year. In nine years, the production of Doyle laptops was only 70,000, of which 70,000 laptops were made for some government departments including the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Bangladesh Army, Postal Department, Sheikh Russell Digital Lab Project, Information and Communication Technology Department. The remaining 20,000 are sold to general customers through designated outlets. Doyel assembles (assembles) laptops at Tesis Tongi, bringing parts from China and Taiwan. So far they have produced 11 models of laptops.
Tesis said that although there was talk of making laptops in the domestic sector, they have not received any government allocation from the beginning. In the financial year 2010-11, project assistance of Tk 95 crore was provided by BTCL for Doel laptops. Of this, Tk 50 crore is being paid for BTCL’s optical network unit project and the remaining Tk 45 crore is being paid through BTCL’s product supply adjustment.
If you want to buy a Doyle laptop, you have to go to BTCL’s telephone sales outlets. Doyel is sold at the BTCL office at Ramna, Nilkhet in the capital. Although a sales center was set up in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, sales did not start there. There is a sales center at IDB building in Agargaon. Outside Dhaka, there are one outlet each in Tongi, Khulna and Rajshahi. Doyle also has no publicity. Their website is also not active.
Doel laptop about the President of the Bangladesh Computer Association. Shahid-ul-Munir said in the first light, when a product is not easily available in the market, its demand decreases. The same thing happened with Doyle.
‘Notoriety’ in the market
Doyle laptop heats up quickly, does not charge, does not work properly – such allegations were in the beginning. In this regard, Tesis officials said, in fact, in 2011 it was not possible to give a standard laptop for 10 thousand rupees. The operating system of a laptop costs eight thousand rupees. But due to the announcement of the government, a laptop worth Rs 10,000 was made. The laptop that was offered at this price was basically the laptop version of the Android phone. As a result the quality was not good.
Tesis officials said they are now making good quality laptops. But the ‘notoriety’ that has been in the market has not stopped. They could not even enter the government’s procurement process.
Raju Ahmed, product manager of the laptop division of technology product vendor Star Tech and Engineering Limited, told Prothom Alo that in the beginning, very few customers would come and ask about Doyle. But Doyle has ruined his image in the beginning.
Evaluation of Tesis
According to the data provided by Tesis, Tesis has earned around Rs 341 crore from Doel laptops since 2011 and spent around Rs 325 crore. Their profit is about 16 crore rupees.
Fakhrul Haider Chowdhury, managing director of Tesis, said in a written statement that in the beginning, Doyle could not hold the market due to inexperience in production and marketing, publicity campaign, service center, shortage of skilled repair workers, etc. However, Tesis has now been able to ensure the quality of the laptop.
Try to match the wings again
On December 29, in Tongi, it was seen that in addition to installing laptops, the workers were also installing televisions and mobile phones. Doyle currently has 47 operators. Doyle laptops are now available in the market at prices ranging from Tk 15,000 to Tk 75,000.
ABM Nahiduzzaman, in-charge of Doel Laptop’s outlets in the capital, told Prothom Alo that sales of laptops have started in Nilkhet from September 2020. So far 40 laptops have been sold. Since September 2019, 260 laptops have been sold at IDB sales outlets. Besides, 30 laptops have been sold in Rajshahi and 15 in Khulna in the last two years.
ABM Wahiduzzaman said that 80-100 laptops are sold in the sales centers of Dhaka every month. He said that their laptop called Freedom worth Tk 15,000 is being sold more. Its market value is 22 thousand rupees. But on the occasion of Mujib’s year, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications has asked to sell it for 15,000 rupees.
Sheikh Russell Digital Lab Establishment Project (Phase 1) took 13,260 Doyle laptops in 2016. The second phase of the project director. Rezaul Makshud Jahedi told Prothom Alo that the laptops are still being used. No major complaints came from the field.
John Tessis is working to improve Doyle’s image, said its managing director. He said a project has been undertaken to increase modernization, production and assembly capacity. If the project is implemented, it will be possible to provide low cost laptops of different models to the common man. And if you get some duty facility for importing laptop parts, good quality laptops can be given at a lower price.
Tesis said they have two models of laptops in stock at the moment. A Core i-8, of the eighth generation. Features – 8 GB RAM, one terabyte hard disk, Intel HD Graphics 720, 14 inch monitor. Its selling price is 85 thousand 295 rupees. Another model is Freedom. Features are Intel QN4200, 4GB RAM, plain graphics, one terabyte hard disk, 14 inch monitor. Its market price is 22 thousand but now it is being sold at 15 thousand rupees. Doyle is cheaper than various laptops of global brands in the market. But lagging behind in popularity.
On the overall issue, Shams Mahmud, former president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), told Prothom Alo that people thought Doyle would be an affordable option for them. But expectations were not met. There are many limitations in government business. The government has to move forward with education from this.