The rights, announced by Dixon on Monday, will enable the firm to both design and manufacture smart LED TVs for third-party brands.
Sunil Vachani, chairman of Dixon, told ET that with the sub-license, the company will now be designing televisions on the Google platform. Third-party brands can approach Dixon to make TVs for them, without having to invest in R&D or acquire the necessary licences, he said.
“We will now be designing smart TVs on the Android-certified platform, supplying to brands as an ODM,” Vachani said. “Right now, Dixon’s main television business is as an EMS (electronic manufacturing service), which is purely a prescriptive manufacturing service.”
This means Dixon will now be pivoting its TV assembly business to a design-based approach.
Dixon joins the likes of Super Plastronics Private Ltd (SPPL) – which makes TVs for brands such as Kodak, Thomson, Blaupunkt and Wesinghouse – in getting the Google TV and Android TV sub-licence.
Dixon is setting up a design centre in India at one of its Noida facilities and will hire around 200 engineers for the centre in coming months.
“We are investing Rs 25 crore in tools, equipment and setting up the centre to locally design smart TVs,” Vachani said. The first locally designed and manufactured smart TV will roll out in 4-5 months, he said.
“It could also open up the export market for us,” he said. “We could be designing, developing and exporting these TVs over a period of time.”
The Noida-based manufacturing firm is one of the largest assemblers of smart LED TVs in India with a capacity of six million units, and Samsung and Aiwa among its customers.
Rival SPPL Stepping Up
However, there is looming competition for the contract manufacturer, as SPPL is stepping up with a new assembly line with a capacity of one million units, which its CEO Avneet Singh Marwah said will be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2023.
“We are investing more than Rs 300 crore in a new assembly line over the next two years, with a capacity of one million units per shift, and have plans to expand beyond televisions and into other appliances as well,” Marwah said.
Marwah said SPPL was the first in India and seventh in the world to get the sub-licence for Google TV and Android. The company is working more closely with Google to get the latest technologies that would earlier only be availed by the big TV brands, he said.