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back to article Datawind insists $42 tab isn't Chinese

British tech firm Datawind has been forced to deny reports from India at the weekend that its low-cost Aakash 2 device, marketed as an innovative locally-made product, was actually bought off-the-shelf from China. The Hindustan Times, citing an unnamed source, claimed that DataWind had no role in the design or manufacturing of …

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Scam?

I tryed to order one.

No internet payment.

Only cash or a cheque in advance in a letter.

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Re: Scam?

The only scam here would be the charges the internet payment companies put on the transaction.

Have you ever looked into getting it? They think they have a right to more of your money than the taxman.

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Meh

Re: Scam?

Well, never mind the terms of payment (which suggest to me financing issues for the company at the very least), there's a fundamental problem that they are reported to be buying them pre-assembled from China for the same price they've contracted to sell them. Putting that through my advanced financial analysis model, I work out that the gross margin is zero, and when you add some corporate overheads and distribution costs, they would be losing money on each one if the facts reported are correct.

But that's just the first 10,000. I would be very surprised if Datawind could beat the Chinese manufacturers on cost by assembling in India. China has less regulation, better infrastructure, better manufacturing experience, the Chinese companies concerned have other product lines to carry the overhead burden and reduce risk. Meanwhile Datawind are starting from scratch. I'd be very surprised if they could beat the quoted $42, in which case they need to renegotiate the price agreed with the Indian government (again).

It's another variant on OLPC, which despite similar grand and worthwhile ambitions has struggled to get costs down, and a product out in volume. Meanwhile, the costs of genuine commercial tablets comes down and down, and it looks to me as though rather than starting by trying to agree the design of a new low cost product by industry unknown players, educators would be better placed negotiating with the big OEM's to see how much they can take out of the existing retail cost. That would still be significantly more expensive than the starting aims of Datwind or OLPC, but you would start from a working product from a manufacturer with know capability, so there's neither product risk, nor supply chain risk. If India wants a factory, Samsung might be quite interested, given the potential volumes (of the order of 100 million units). Taking the UK price of a 7 inch Samsung tablet, stripping out retail margin, sales tax, marketing, then you end up with an implied wholesale price (before volume discounts) of around £85 (say $105). WIth non-retail packaging, state arranged distribution, and a volume discount that should be moveable to $90. Admittedly that's a lot higher than $42, but the Samsung unit works, it could be available now (with a commitment to build an Indian manufacturing plant), and Indian students wouldn't be tied into a proprietary app store as the Datawind units are. And if Datawind find the same issues as OLPC, then the $42 might merely be a stepping stone to $70.

Which is a better buy - $70 for a cost-focused upstart with no track record, or $90 for a proven unit from a market leader?

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Facepalm

Re: Scam?

Yes i have tryed to buy one.

But i don't put money in an envelope and pay in advance.

Do you?

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Flame

We don't need Chinese slave labor ...

We have plenty of our own

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Coat

Aakash-2... Sounds like a Middle Eastern rocket!

Mwhahaha my Aakash-2 will destroy you!

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Flame

Yes it seems a strange stance to build a one off Indian only system when there are many proven systems available worldwide that could be negotiated down to a price mark just on the guaranteed numbers alone.I think they might be losing the primary goal which was to facilitate the availability of a low cost system not to make another factory and additional continual investment that would need.

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the same price it is flogging them

Even if that were true, for the first batch or the whole run then that would be a good deal. The same price but none of the headaches and overheads!

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Meh

This is an important product

The Indian market is fiercely competitive and notoriously corrupt. If the students are going to actually get the benefit of these tablets somebody responsible is going to have to cut through the nonsense.

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WTF?

"The article alleges that Datawind bought more than 10,000 ‘A-13’ tablets... for $42 a piece – the same price it is flogging them to the Indian government for."

And I bet they're going to pocket the difference, too, those sleazy bastards!

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Shakes head (oh yes very much and no) and wonders

Did anyone else read that article in an Indian accent?

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