ion: Made in India. Available only in India

"Made in India, Available in India.", This is the punch line of a new Indian startup "ion". It's one of the very few Indian startups which I am aware of in the hardware space . Though they do not have a path breaking or revolutionary stuff, the small step they have taken is in the right direction and is sure to have deep ramifications in the times to come.

[tHe pRoduct], As mentioned earlier "ion" is the name of the product(possibly also the company). The product a USB based iPod charger, which can also me used to charge any of the numerous other devices (which can be charged via USB). The advantages, no need to have a PC around to charge your device, you can use it in any remote place in India, can happily listen to your music which charging the device. Last but not the least it comes at just Rs. 399 (For those of you who count in $$, its under $10), isn't it great.

[tHe sIte]
The homepage is simple and tells you just what ion is all about without any need to move around. They don't talk lot of things about themselves or try to obscure you with puzzles about the product. Bang on target they tell you what ion is all about and what its primary purpose is. No need to traverse multiple links to know the price of their product, It's right there on the first page.

To buy one you need to click on buy now which will take you through simple steps to fill in the mailing details. No registration required. You can pay via paypal or use your credit card as payment options. That is it. The people behind say that you will get the shipment in 2-3 days time.

The site has a Web1.0 look and feel about it. However, as I mentioned earlier they have laid out all the necessary information in a easy to find manner. The FAQ is detailed enough to answer most of the queries.

[aBout tHem]
This is one of the most interesting part, the founders are three young people in their early to mid tweens. Vikram, Niara, and Swaroop, all the three based out of Bangalore, India. Check out their about page for more information. Have a go at this blog post by Swaroop for some snippets about ion.

[iN mY eYes]
Definitely a small step towards something big. Though I haven't used the product, the confidence of these youngsters gives me a confidence that they are not here to take people for a ride, and hence belief that the product is good. (It's a dangerous thing in product review, so I will update this post once I check it myself).

At this point I am sure their hands are full with marketing the charger and meeting the sales and manufacturing requirements. What we have to look for is how they are going to handle the future. There are many challenges these folks face for the leap ahead
i) Challenge from other low cost manufacturers. I guess there is no innovative technology behind the charger, so any bigee who sees an opportunity may jump in.
ii) How long can they survive with the one product strategy, they have to move over to other products. Now what will those be, will these products have the same appeal as "ion", will they be as easy and economic to produce? Does the ion team have enough resources to get things out at a decent pace?
iii) I don't have an idea of their market at this point, but if they start growing they will need lot of moolah.

The second one is a serious concern in my opinion. If they get it right, it should not be difficult to get the other two in place. We will have to wait and see how the "ion" team take it into the future.

[tHe eNd]
As I keep mentioning , it takes courage to do something different and these folks have demonstrated that they do have the courage. What they have done which not many I know have done is trying to solve a simple but pervasive problem. This approach is what gives me confidence that says watch them. For those of you who are just interested in a charger I recommend you to order one right away.