Mehta, who is having an engineering degree from Cornell and an MBA from MIT-Sloan, worked in Amozon.com for five years and was a Senior Manager at the company in 2007. To start his own online retail venture, Mehta quit his job, sold his house and his car.
The Infibeam Pi, which is priced at Rs.10,000, can be ordered online now and is likely to be shipped in February, is priced at Rs. 10,000. The Amazon Kindle, when shipped to India, costs about Rs.18,000. The Pi supports 13 Indian languages. Infibeam.com, an online retailer that sells everything from flowers to jewellery to books to electronic goods, has more than one lakh ebooks.
Mehta said, "It's pointless in India, there is no 3G. When we have wireless connectivity, we probably won't restrict what users can browse. Our essential philosophy is to be as open as possible."
The Pi has also a micro USB port to connect to a PC. Users will just be needed to create an account with Infibeam.com, register the device and then download the ebooks. The ebooks can be read on the PC as well as on the Pi. The ebooks typically cost 5-20 percent less than the hard copy versions, but in some cases, especially with bestsellers, digital rights are expensive and it's cheaper to buy the physical books. With the help of Pi, users will be able to read any documents documents (word or pdf, for instance). "A test prep firm can load their proprietary content on this device and give it to students, without worrying that the material will get passed around," said Mehta.
The company plans to sell about 10,000 devices in the first few months. The company has started accepting pre-orders on the website and is motivated by the initial response.