Govt. to set up manufacturing unit for Aakash in India to further reduce costs!
Aakash is already the cheapest tablet in the world. Globally, everyone has their eyes set on it. It is also probably the most criticized tablet having far more detractors. Since its launch, it has always been in news for one or the other reason.
Most recently, there was a lot of hullabaloo over Aakash being “Made in China” product. Datawind published an infographic exactly telling which part of Aakash has come from where. Here is an official Datawind response to that controversy as well.
Now, Telecom and IT minister Mr. Kapil Sibal has gone ahead and made a statement that they will bring down Aakash cost even further. Currently the tablet costs Government Rs. 2263 (USD 49) and Govt has given 50% subsidy bringing down the costs for students to Rs. 1130.
According to Sibal’s statement, Indian Govt. is in process of getting a Cabinet approval for manufacturing of 50 lakh units of Aakash tablet in India. The costliest part of Aakash tablet is the capacitive touch screen which costs roughly USD 20 when it is imported. With a local manufacturing facility in place, these costs can come down tremendously, bringing the overall cost of Aakash tablet to less than USD 35 or roughly Rs. 1900/-.
Government is also expected to float a global tender for Aakash production within the country once it gets the cabinet approval.
The next version of Aakash will come pre-loaded with Skype application, which facilitates chat and voice calls over an internet connection. Though it may not have a inbuilt sim card to aid mobile calling facility.
Aakash has had lot of criticism and controversy, but lets face it – Aakash is the real deal. No other country or company has even come close to achieving the price point set by Aakash. Initially, I was myself not too confident about Aakash, but over last couple of years, I have seen how Aakash is putting all the pieces of puzzle together. If Indian Govt. is able to get this manufacturing facility going, I am sure it will make Aakash even more appealing with an even cheaper price point.
Would be great to hear readers’ views on this!