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back to article India may can low cost Aakash tablet project

The Indian government may pull the plug on its ambitious but misfiring plan to put a low-cost Aakash tablet in the hands of 50 million students across the country. The project has been hit by repeated delays since its 2011 launch, when British manufacturer Datawind was contracted to build 100,000 of the Android tablets. Now the …

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Lots of wind indeed. Especially inside of Kapil Sibal's skull

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Anonymous Coward

But hold on

Datawind was contracted to build and supply 100,000 units?

Ok so where are they being made, not here in the UK surely, the cost of one unit is less than then the minimum daily wage and even in the Far East the labour costs are close to the price of the device.

So is the production problem down to the fact that they cannot find labour cheap enough to make these tablets without making a loss? Are they not able to employ enough child labour to get the thing into full production? I'm sure the Indian Government would turn a blind eye for them if they asked.

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Silver badge
Happy

When it was started, a $40 tablet was outlandishly low

Now it's just an ordinary 7" white box android tablet you can pick up almost anywhere in China.

I like the ideals of the project, but recent pace of technology has a way of messing up the plans of individuals.

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Bronze badge

Re: When it was started, a $40 tablet was outlandishly low

The trouble with spending $40 on a tablet is that you're almost certainly going to end up with unreliable, barely usable crap. That's fine for someone in the first world who just wants a cheap disposable toy but when $40 represents a month's wages (Wikipedia: poverty in India) you want something that works and lasts (and has a decent warranty). Leaving it to the market can't ensure that.

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Re: When it was started, a $40 tablet was outlandishly low

'Leaving it to the market can't ensure that.'

I'm not 100% sure that's true. The 'market' is certainly overhyped by some people (and over-criticised by others), but actually I'd extend your accurate analysis that a $40 device aimed at the indian working class needs to be robust with the further point that a local tech support market is critiically required.

A fairly unregulated market has expanded mobile phone ownership in India to include people with no access to basic sanitation. Nokia, in particular, are thriving because their 5 and 10 year old designs are both dirt cheap to produce, robust and, vitally, well understood by local tech firms who have been selling, supporting and fixiing them for years.

Bringing in a bespoke, low-cost and feature rich tablet poses the danger of confusing both the target audience (though as they're kids they're likely to be able to get to grips with almost anything in a matter of minutes through trial and error) and also the support industry that can mitigate against the likelihood that it will go wrong a lot. If noone knows how to fix it, the project will go wrong even further on delivery than it has in planning.

In this case it's a (presumably) well meaning effort to circumvent the market that is likely to ensure failure.

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Headmaster

Re: When it was started, a $40 tablet was outlandishly low

At $40, you need to buy 5 of them, just in case 4 of them fail. So, do the math and buy a well-reviewed, middle-priced tablet at $200.

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One more proof...

Government initiated projects enforced on private companies seldom work, even if the intentions are good!

Now someone has to tell that to No. 10 as well.

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Re: One more proof...

No10 knows that!

Its quite happy for the projects not to work if its friends are making a profit. It especially doesn’t want any health projects to be a success so its friends can make even more of a profit - see USA health spending.

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Unhappy

Why did they choose Datawind?

All their products over hyped and poor on delivery.

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Re: Why did they choose Datawind?

It's not poor on delivery, it is poor on planning - the start phase of the project!

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Re: Why did they choose Datawind?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DataWind

Key people Suneet Tuli, CEO

Raja Tuli, Co-founder, CTO

David Elder,COO

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Headmaster

Gone With The Datawind.

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Facepalm

What's in a name?

"...British manufacturer Datawind..."

I heard the second choice name was InfoFart.

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