NEW DELHI: The wait for the world's cheapest tablet
is finally over! The $35 tablet nicknamed Aakash was launched today and will be available at retail stores at a maximum retail price of Rs 2999 ($60), said its maker Datawind.
"The Rs 3,000 figure is the 'maximum suggested retail price' of the commercial version of the product which we will offer with an embedded cellular modem and SIM," said Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind, maker of the world's cheapest tablet.
The $60 tablet for retail sales has an inbuilt cellular modem and SIM to access internet, which will be absent in the $35 device, supplied to the government.
As a business, we need to make a profit, and our distribution channel needs to make a profit, which is all covered in the MRP of Rs 2,999," Mr Tuli told ET.
Both versions of the tablet, will run on Google's Android platform, with WiFi connectivity for internet access and cloud storage. The tablets will have 256 MB of RAM, a 32 GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.
The commercial version of the tablet would have no duty waivers or subsidy, as in the government's version. An inbuilt cellular modem and SIM card will add to the price of the commercial tablet.
The commercial version of the tablet, is expected be out within 60 days, of its launch on October 5. Datawind
adds that it is supplying to the government at a price of Rs 2200, which includes sales tax and replacement warranty. "The $35 price is achievable at higher volume levels. When we supply the product to the government at $35, then too it will allow us a margin, albeit at higher volumes," Datawind CEO added.
India trails fellow BRIC nations Brazil, Russia and China in the drive to get its 1.2 billion population connected to technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones, a report by risk analysis firm Maplecroft said this year.
The number of Internet users grew 15-fold between 2000 and 2010, according to another recent report. Still, just 8 percent of Indians have access. That compares with nearly 40 percent in China.
Some 19 million people subscribe to mobile phones every month, making India the world's fastest growing market, but most are from the wealthier segment of the population in towns.
Bharat Mehra, an expert on the use of communications technology for development, said the budget tablet could be used to deliver distance learning in rural areas and among students.