India's first low-cost tablet, the Aakash, is receiving overwhelming attention and demand from both corporate and individual buyers, with more than a million units of the device booked online just two weeks after it was made available. This has prompted U.K.-based vendor Datawind to establish three more factories in India to cater to demand, according to a report.
India's business news daily Economic Times reported Tuesday that 1.4 million units of the Aakash Android-based tablet, priced at 2,499 rupees (US$47), have been ordered, just two weeks after it was released for sale online by Datawind's e-commerce partner Ncarry.com. The device maker had initially released 30,000 devices for order, it added.
As a result of the high demand, Datawind will be establishing three new factories in Cochin, Noida and Hyderabad in the first half of the year, the report noted. It currently has only one factory in Hyderabad with its LCD panel vendor, Quad.
Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli was cited in the report saying: "We never expected such a high response from both corporate and individual buyers. We plan to supply 70,000 to 75,000 units per day once the factories are in place by April."
In fact, traffic on its Web site was so unexpectedly high when the device was released for sale, that India's computer emergency response team had alerted the company its Web site could be the victim of a possible large-scale cyberattack, the executive recounted.
Unveiled last October, the low-cost Aakash tablet was commissioned by the Indian government to target the local education sector. Datawind also plans to introduce the next version of Aakash, called Ubislate 7+, by mid-January for 2,999 rupees (US$56.38). The updated device will come with a slot for a SIM card for Internet access by GPRS or 2G connection, which is not available in the first device, the Economic Times reported.
However, because of delays on the government's end, the Aakash device will probably end up with commercial buyers first before the students for whom the low-cost tablet was initially intended, it added.