This new year is definitely a year of low cost computing as far as India is concerned. The booking for the world's most inexpensive tablet, Aakash has accounted to 14 lakhs in just 14 days since it was announced for pre-booking.
The manufacturer, Datawind based at UK is launching three factories in various cities of India like Noida, Hyderabad and Cochin in the first two quarters of the year to meet this unexpected and tremendous requirement. Currently, the company has a factory with Quad in Hyderabad which is a vendor that makes the tablet's LCD panel.
Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of Datawind said that the company did not expect such high responses from the individuals and corporates. The company has plans to manufacture up to 75,000 on a daily basis to meet the demand provided the new factories are set by April.
The pre-booking of Aakash was opened in the month of December 2011 and the total units booked has surpassed the tablets in the Indian market that accounts to about 250,000 to 300,000 till the last year. Aakash when compared to the Apple's iPad has a slow processor and resistive touch screen but still it managed to get about 1 lakh units pre-ordered per day while the latter has got only 10 lakhs in 28 days.
One of the reasons of the success of Aakash is its cost-effectiveness being about 12 times less costlier than the cheapest iPad which costs around 29,500 INR. However, Datawind is experiencing supply issues when compared to Apple's smooth deliveries of iPad. The company claims that it is not looking for cash bookings right now as there are some issues in supply.
The company has also plans to put up the sale of the upgraded version of Aakash, UbiSlate 7 which will cost 2,999 INR and with improved features like SIM card support ans GPRS or 3G internet connection. The Aakash has the Wi-Fi connectivity to provide the internet access.