India's low-cost Android tablet sees growing demand

India's first low-cost Android tablet, Aakash, receives 25,000 requests from University of Mumbai, with more requests expected.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

The University of Mumbai has received 25,000 requests for the country'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 Times of India reported on Saturday that the tablet, priced at 1,138 rupees (US$23), saw about 25,000 requests from the university's 90 colleges and departments. The university added that it was expecting "many more" requests to come in.

"Colleges in far-off places like Alibaug also have demanded the device in large numbers," said Mohan Kumar, convener of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) from the university.

According to Kumar, requests were still pouring in. "There will be a second phase. The Center is currently just seeking details from all the states. Once the numbers are clear, they will be sending the request to the vendor," he noted.

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.

Editorial standards