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

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.

  • Intel_Hydralisk
    It's really not that much when you consider the population of India...
    Reply
  • kcorp2003
    This should be on a TED talk show :)
    Reply
  • MaxTesla
    I would buy one, just to check it out, and 50-60 dollars aint a bad price.
    Reply
  • yannigr
    It looks like those cheap Chinese 7'' tablets with WM8650 processor from VIA and at almost the same price. Nothing new here. What I would like to do is congratulate the Indian government for making this tablet and making it in India.

    Why I do that? Let's take my country for example, Greece. 4 or 5 years ago (when we had money - yeah, right...) the government decided to give free laptops to certain students. They did that by giving a check of 400 euros to every family. The result was ALL netbooks/laptops in the country gone from let's say 250 euros to a minimum of 400 euros + a gift card over night. The retailers fill their pockets with government money, and NO Greek company had the opportunity to acquire expertise and make a name taking advantage of that program. No new jobs, no anything. Just retailers with their pockets full back then and a padlock at the door today.
    Reply
  • GreaseMonkey_62
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • cpatel1987
    Good lord thats worse than the Droid processor!

    @DK: The Ubislate 7+ is like the droid, little faster, now worth its cost.
    Reply
  • MaxTesla
    @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.
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  • ajay_vishvanathan
    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..
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  • freggo
    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.


    Reply