India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

Summary: Students are buying India's super-cheap Aakash tablet despite complaints about the first round of devices.

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The University of Mumbai has received 25,000 requests for India's first low-cost Android tablet, dubbed Aakash, with more requests expected for the device which has already seen over 1 million orders from commercial buyers since its debut. The tablet reportedly will cost students a subsidized rate priced at 1,138 rupees (US$23).

An official from the university added that modifications would be made to the device to incorporate the needs of the universities and central government. "The initial product had a lot of complaints from users. They are being modified now to suit everybody's requirements," he said.

The Indian government first introduced the Aakash tablet in October last year, unveiling a 7-inch touchscreen tablet running on Android 2.2 and featuring Wi-Fi, multimedia and videoconferencing capabilities. The government said the tablet was targeted at local students and would likely be sold through universities and colleges instead of retail channels. Spokesperson for the human resources development ministry, Mamata Varma, then told AFP that the device cost 2,200 rupees (US$45), while a separate report by Reuters said students would pay a subsidized rate. Earlier in January, orders for Aakash totaled 1.4 million units just two weeks after it was made commercially available for sale online.

For more on this story, read India's low-cost Android tablet sees growing demand on ZDNet Asia.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

Jamie Yap

About Jamie Yap

Jamie writes about technology, business and the most obvious intersection of the two that is software. Other variegated topics include--in one form or other--cloud, Web 2.0, apps, data, analytics, mobile, services, and the three Es: enterprises, executives and entrepreneurs. In a previous life, she was a writer covering a different but equally serious business called show business.

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14 comments
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  • Such Tools if implemented right can be a cost efficient miracle

    Such Tools if implemented right can be a cost efficient miracle in Education all over the world.

    With innovation & thanks to the free OS from Google (Android), costs can be kept low & value can be high. Imagine what cost effective streaming can do for students. This streaming of education can give the same advantage to rural (or maybe poor) students as what their urban city counterparts (or maybe students from premier institutions) enjoy.
    IndianArt
  • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

    Sorry to say, but the Aakash tablet is a piece of junk. I tried a demo version in India, and it's not of commercial consumer grade by any means -- just a 7" screen, low memory, frequent system freezes, poor sound quality, terrible usability (touch screen doesn't work right), no support for all formats and inability to install free software etc. are just few of the issues. Most folks will end up using it as a paper-weight!
    Schepuri
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @Schepuri <br><br>So it's as valuable as any of the other Android devices.
      Rob.sharp
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @Schepuri Look. This doesn't need to be an iPad. All this needs to be is a good connected e-textbook, that you can read, supply with books and homework, do your homework on, turn it in etc. And it will do all that adequately well, all for the cost of what in the US might not even buy you one single paper textbook. So even an extremely lousy tablet computer is still potentially a revolutionary education tool.
      ArtInvent
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @Schepuri
      At that price it would be enough that one was able to store and read ebooks on it. As it is, I still cant figure out why I would need a tablet, but a Nook Tablet is as much money as I would happily spend on a device I will use primarily as a reader. If the Aakash can get this right, there is significant opportunity for exports to the developing world.
      strangefruit
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @Schepuri I suspect your real complaint is it doesn't run Windows.
      james.vandamme
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @Schepuri <br>No guys, nothing against Android (tho I'm personally an Apple fan). What I was trying to say is that, just because the price is so low, people will not compromise for quality (artifically low I might add, because without the govt subsidies and tax breaks it will cost about three times = $150). The 2-hour battery life is a deal breaker for instance. The Tata Nano is an example that comes to mind, the $3000 car was a huge fail because of the quality issues, not to mention that the new/young India is very brand conscious.
      Schepuri
  • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

    Doesn't this mean you'd have to redo the calculations for the Textbook of the Future: The Challenges Article... based on this $25 tablet... the actual costs would be .05 of the cost of the iPad, wouldn't it?
    are@...
  • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

    Look at the icons on the screen. Email, chat, calendar, photo viewing, and basic web browsing require very few resources. A $45 tablet won't be usable for NetFlix or most games but that is not the purpose of this tablet.
    habraham
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @habraham

      You mean Apple won't be able to sell them $600 IPads?
      fldbryan@...
  • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

    Are these tablets being built in India or China?
    fldbryan@...
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @fldbryan@... <br>The Aakash 1 is made in China, but the Aakash 2 is targeted to be manufactured in India starting late 2012.
      Schepuri
  • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

    Oh Apple will sell them an IPad, it just will be an Ipad "light".
    Meaning they will take out the cameras and possibly the wifi making it a cheaper
    plug in only. They will also need to ruggedize it. The purpose will be to train the
    kids to want to "big boy versions" and you know the rich kids will get mom and dad
    to pony up for the device, making the other kids envious, etc.
    richard233
    • RE: India's $45 tablet still selling like crazy

      @richard233 I live in India and I know the ground situation here, apple products are popular here but the fact that many indians are developing india specific apps on android makes android a better choice when it comes to phone and tablet market, many companies like htc, samsung sell good android (cheaper than ios) tablets and they will be the next choice over small toys like Akash tablet.
      namrata.gawai