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1.4 Million People Have 'Preordered' India's Aakash Tablet

By - Source: Techcrunch | B 30 comments

However, no money has actually changed hands just yet...

The launch of India's ultra-cheap 60 dollar Aakash tablet is nearly upon us, and if pre-orders registrations are any indication, it's going to sell like crazy. The Times of India is reporting that 1.4 million preorder 'bookings' have occurred in the two weeks since the device was offered at a small discount of approximately $50. Based on this apparent strong demand, UK-based Aakash manufacturer Datawind have announced intent to open 3 new factories in India -in the cities of Cochin, Noida and Hyderabad - to meet it. "We never expected such a high response from both corporate and individual buyers." said Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli. "We plan to supply 70,000-75,000 units per day once the factories are in place by April."

That's an amazing commitment, and for the people those factories will employ, a virtual godsend. However, the demand is at this time purely theoretical. "We are not accepting cash for bookings currently, as we want to sort out supply issues", Tuli said. As a result, these preorders are not currency transactions, just 'bookings", essentially consumers claiming a place in line to ensure they won't get sniped when it launches. So no money has exchanged hands, the company is still trying to sort out supply issues, and the Aakash is still months away from launch. As impressive as these preorders numbers are, the real test will come when it's time for the consumer to actually part with their money, assuming that Datawind manages to successfully meet current production quotas. It is therefore probably wise to hold off on celebrating the factory groundbreaking for the time being.

With a 7-inch 800x480 pixel display, 256 MB of RAM, 2 GB of NAND flash storage and a 366 MHz Connexant processor the dirt cheap Aakash tablet is incredibly underpowered by the standards of the developed world, and would likely never sell in the developed world. But for a nation beset by immense poverty and in dire need of expanded educational opportunities and access to the Internet for its 1 billion citizens, it's a much-needed affordable bit of tech that, if successfully delivered, will change lives.

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  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 3:28 PM
    Aakash has been renamed Ubislate 7. Ubislate 7+ is coming in Feb with a 700MHz processor and a few other improvements for just $10 more.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    Intel_Hydralisk , January 6, 2012 3:09 PM
    It's really not that much when you consider the population of India...
  • 0 Hide
    kcorp2003 , January 6, 2012 3:17 PM
    This should be on a TED talk show :) 
  • 7 Hide
    MaxTesla , January 6, 2012 3:21 PM
    I would buy one, just to check it out, and 50-60 dollars aint a bad price.
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , January 6, 2012 3:27 PM
    If they put a faster processor, it might be worth it. It sounds too slow even at the low budget price to be worth it.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 3:28 PM
    Aakash has been renamed Ubislate 7. Ubislate 7+ is coming in Feb with a 700MHz processor and a few other improvements for just $10 more.
  • -1 Hide
    cpatel1987 , January 6, 2012 3:34 PM
    Good lord thats worse than the Droid processor!

    @DK: The Ubislate 7+ is like the droid, little faster, now worth its cost.
  • -2 Hide
    MaxTesla , January 6, 2012 3:37 PM
    @yannigr

    I must point out that the former right wing government was ideologically blocked and were unable on a personal level to even consider using the government ability to purchase in bulk.

    That is why it failed in Greece, the conservatives couldn’t and wouldn’t purchase in bulk but instead, and possibly this was the goal all along, chose the wurst option which was simply send checks out so that what did happen would happen which is that the retailers raised prices and the money ended up in the sellers pocket instead of staying in the government which was possibly the plan all along.
  • 0 Hide
    ajay_vishvanathan , January 6, 2012 3:45 PM
    damn it!!! India is not a country that's poverty stricken!! It's filled with misers who value money unlike others who are "Developed" that rock in poverty and indebtedness.. jerks..
  • 7 Hide
    freggo , January 6, 2012 3:55 PM
    ajay_vishvanathandamn it!!! India is not a country that's poverty stricken!! It's filled with misers who value money unlike others who are "Developed" that rock in poverty and indebtedness.. jerks..


    According to the CIA world fact book India has a per capita GDP of about $3,500 putting it in 162nd position in the world. Sorry, but I'd call that a 'poor' country.


  • 2 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , January 6, 2012 4:16 PM
    freggoAccording to the CIA world fact book India has a per capita GDP of about $3,500 putting it in 162nd position in the world. Sorry, but I'd call that a 'poor' country.



    I heard that living cost is also very low there. GDP may not be a good measure of poverty . IMHO India will be at ~ 110th.





  • 7 Hide
    ksampanna , January 6, 2012 4:19 PM
    True, poverty & illiteracy is rampant. But it's also the 4th largest economy. Plus it's a fact that nearly one-fifth of the technologists in the US (engineers, scientists in IT, NASA, etc) were educated in India. Last but not the least, while the recession has largely crippled all the "developed" nations, India remains immune to it. I know this has nothing to do with the article but just wanted to clear that all is not in the drain & the article needn't be so condescending.
    Coming back to the tablet, the whole initiative will be a failure if cellular connectivity is not improved or the number of public wi-fi areas is not increased.
  • 0 Hide
    rakesh_toms , January 6, 2012 4:23 PM
    @freggo, get you facts straight. First of all India is 129th in the per capita GDP ranking. I know no where near the US at 7th. But then comparing the total population of the 2 countries and the fact that most of the US money is in the pockets of 1% population sitting at the top of fortune 500 companies and investment banks, nothing much to brag about for an average US citizen. They spend more than they earn and make credit card companies richer is a fact.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 4:43 PM
    If it's 60 dollars it must be extremely crappy device or they are building it at loss. You can't get even a decent phone with that let alone tablet.
  • 0 Hide
    STravis , January 6, 2012 4:50 PM
    kikkareIf it's 60 dollars it must be extremely crappy device or they are building it at loss. You can't get even a decent phone with that let alone tablet.


    I would go with the former.
  • 5 Hide
    alidan , January 6, 2012 5:11 PM
    if these things can display a book, it would be a great e reader, i dont need fancy page turning crap, i just need something i can bring with me that is cheap as hell, and can display a jpeg/png image.
  • 0 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , January 6, 2012 5:57 PM
    This beats OLPC. I wonder what Negroponte thinks about it.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 6:27 PM
    i can assure every over here that this device works very well atleast in terms of video , music and document editing , and browsing .
    and this device is built for that purpose only . its a educational device and not an entertainment device.
    and people calling it cheap , dirt , worthless , please can you ask any top manufacturer to give the same specs at the same price . they will certainly have sweat coming out of their asses .
  • 1 Hide
    danraies , January 6, 2012 6:27 PM
    Someone above said that these sorts of devices are not going to be successful in the "underdeveloped" world until internet connectivity is increased. I totally agree with that.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , January 6, 2012 6:30 PM
    these specs are better than my 266mhz 32meg ram 3.2 gig hard drive from 97.
  • 2 Hide
    Shin-san , January 6, 2012 9:21 PM
    I could actually see the use of a cheap tablet like that, even though it's underpowered. It's a portable screen that can be used for thin client-like applications
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