India launches cheapest tablet computing device
Aiming to bridge the digital divide in the country, India
Wednesday launched the world's cheapest tablet computing device
Akash costing Rs.2,250 ($46).
Around one lakh students will be able to have better access to
information through the product developed jointly by
New Delhi: The
manufacturer of Akash, the world's cheapest tablet computing
device priced at Rs.2,250, DataWind Wednesday said it plans to
launch the tablet's commercial variant in the country by
"We plan to launch the commercial variant of the device somewhere
in late-November," Suneet Singh Tuli, chief executive of DataWind,
told IANS on the sidelines of the tablet launch for students by
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal.
According to Tuli, the price of the commercial variant would be
higher than that of the students' version, but did not divulge any
"It would be a bit higher, but very competitive to anything that
is available around the world," Tuli said.
The company expects to have a customer base of nearly 100,000
customers per month for the commercial variant of the tablet.
"I am hoping for nearly 100,000 customers per month for my tab
which may be priced around Rs.2,500-3,000."
Tuli further said the company's manufacturing facility capacity in
Hyderabad would be increased from the current 700 units per day to
nearly 100,000 units per month.
"We have to eventually increase the capacity to 100,000 units in
the coming time to meet the demand."
The company was also scouting for an alternative manufacturing
site to increase production.
"Our basic plan is to provide the 'tab' to the Indian market
first, but the demand is so high that we need to develop a new
facility altogether and we are scouting for a location."
Replying to the enormous export potential estimates which were
given by Sibal, who said the product was not just for 220 million
Indian students but also for the rest of the world, Tuli said: "No
doubt it's a great product. But our first priority is to provide
it in India and then the rest of the world."
Further, the company expressed its hopes for a new tab with a
price tag of about $10, with the help of more local components.
"We need to have more local components. And with the production
expansion that we plan, we believe that Indian component
manufacturers would soon see the opportunity, thus reducing our
Currently, the tab uses around 35 percent component from South
Korea, 25 percent from China, 16 from the US, 16 from India and
rest from around the world.
Meanwhile, senior company officials told IANS that the base
version of the device for students will come in partnership with
telecommunication service provider Aircel which would provide SIM
cards which can then be used for accessing the internet through
the 3G network.
"We have tied-up with Aircel for the product. They will provide
the network to access the 3G-internet service."