The Aakash tablet has received mix reviews in India but the minister responsible for launching it says that firms in US are interested in increasing the productivity of the tablet.
Two weeks back, Indian government launched an ultra-cheap tablet called Aakash which will be sold to secondary school students for just $35. Indians have claimed that it is “the cheapest tablet in the world”. The tablet was designed by DataWind which is owned by an Indian-Canadian. The market price of Aakash is $46 but the Indian government will be providing a subsidy of $11 to make it available for $35. The government has given an initial order of 0.1 million devices to the tablet-maker DataWind.
In the past India has also tried to introduce low-cost cars like Tata Nano (launched in 2009) but it has been a disappointment so far. People in government think that Indians primarily care about the price but the reality is that they care more about value than the price. Indian government has long list of failures in the computer technology world. In 2002, it launched $240 hand-held computer called Simputer while in 2005 a Linux OS based computer called Mobilis for $200 was launched. Both computers failed badly as computer industry provided more cheap solutions.
On Wednesday, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said the ultra-cheap tablet device Aakash has created a lot of enthusiasm in the American public and several US companies have shown their interest to associate with the project for raising efficiency and productivity of Aakash. He said details of the tablet were also shared with World Bank authorities who are interested to make it common among the students in developing countries. The Minister who was on week-long trip to the US to attend the first ever Indo-US higher education summit returned yesterday. Minister said “There was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding Aakash. Several people and big companies met us who are into this business (IT). They expressed interest to partner with this project, to increase its application and speed, increase the processor from 300 MHz to 800 MHz,” Minister Sibal told the reporters.
According Minister Sibal, US firms have agreed to keep the price tag of Aakash at $35 despite of the changes that are going to be incorporated in it. He also said that World Bank authorities have assured him that Aakash will be displayed in its board.