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India Aakash: World's Cheapest Tablet Launched; To Be Sold For $60 In Retail


Apr 4, 2005
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.

New Apple iPhone 4S: Full coverage on the new smartphone

"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.



Apr 4, 2005

And here is the photo of proud CEO of Datawind

In an exclusive interview with NDTV’s Gadget Guru, Mr Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO DataWind disclosed this that how this tablet could have been even cheaper, had they developed this from their China unit. He cited reasons like complicated tax structure, inter-state sales taxes, VAT and other such costs which got added to the manufacturing cost of Aakash for getting it developed from India unit. Moreover, they had to specially setup this new unit in Hyderabad for producing Aakash tablet computers even when they had running units capable of developing such tablet devices in China itself. Had they done this from China, then obviously costs would have been even lesser and hence the final selling price.

Have a look at ‘first look’ pictures of Aakash Tablet.

But then this extra price has to be paid to have this “Made in India” tag which also is quite significant. HRD ministry wanted Aakash to be launched with Made in India tag rather than anything else. This is what Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli quoted in his exclusive interview with NDTV’s Gadget Guru Rajiv Makhni;

“It would have been cheaper to produce the tablet in China, in our existing facility. Manufacturing in India is not easy because of the complicated tax structure, inter-state sales taxes, VAT and other associated costs. We set up a unit in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and also faced problems due to the Telengana agitations and so on. But it was important for this project to have the Made in India tag and despite hurdles we feel it’s been worth it.”

Check out the below Video of exclusive interview of Mr Tuli with NDTV to understand how Aakash – the World’s cheapest tablet, could come into existence with Made in India tag.
Exclusive Interview Video of Mr Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, DataWind with NDTV’s Gadget Guru

worlds-cheapest-tablet-aakash-interview-video-suneet-singh-tuli-ceo-datawind.mp4 - YouTube


May 11, 2010
Ancient Greece
I personally feel that the 256 MB RAM is a bit too low, maybe the folks will work out on it before the final market release.
BTW, a blessing in disguise for poor and middle-class students.


Apr 4, 2005
I personally feel that the 256 MB RAM is a bit too low, maybe the folks will work out on it before the final market release.
BTW, a blessing in disguise for poor and middle-class students.
Upto 31st July 2011 I was working on P-3 633mhz with 256 mb Ram,I still have that PC .The PC was as fine as any Dual core and have windows xp.The only problem was in video's which according to my brother was because of Motherboard.So I don't think 256 mb ram is slow for a 3000 rupees tablet


Jun 1, 2004
I think increasing RAM's capacity should not be a problem considering the memory slots should be of same configuration. But if it can already run Android 2.2 then it should be good enough... only time will tell though...


Cleverness is not wisdom
May 3, 2010
Operating systems like Windoze are morbidly obese and require a lot of memory and processor power to achieve even mediocre performance

Others Linux based OSs including Android are lean and mean athletes in comparison

I am typing this on a desktop I made myself.... an 8 yr old first generation Pentium 4 2.4Ghz, with 2Gb Ram and Kubuntu Linux and it does everything my wife's 4Gb Ram Intel Dual Core Windoze 7 premium laptop can do but faster and with more finesse

Back to the tablet in question...I think it will be very capable and hats off to the manufacturer for doing it so cheaply yet still being able to make a profit
Last edited:


Apr 4, 2005
Reach For The Sky: The Man Who Brought The Aakash to India


Two Sikh-Canadians are behind the world’s cheapest tablet computer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, saw the launching of the device, developed by DataWind, a Montreal firm founded by brothers Raja and Suneet Singh Tuli.

DataWind CEO Suneet Singh expects to sell 1 million tablets per month once the Android-powered device goes on sale to the general public later this year.

The first run of 100,000 Aakash tablets (the word literally means “sky” in Punjabi and other subcontinental languages) has been purchased by the Indian government for $48 each. They will be resold to university students for $25.

Suneet Singh explained that the government would like to buy 8 to 10 million units from four or five suppliers.

“We bid so aggressively that the other bidders weren’t able to match our price,” he says. The bidding is being reopened for the next batch of orders.

India’s National Mission on Education through Information & Communication Technology has spent five years pushing for an inexpensive mobile device for mass use.

The Aakash runs the Android 2.2 operating system, features a 7-inch display with 800-by-480 pixel resolution, two USB ports and a claimed battery life of 3 hours. It also comes with 256 megabytes of RAM, 2 gigabytes of flash storage and a 366 MHz processor made by Connexant.

This is enough to perform standard tasks, such as streaming HD video, reading Ebooks and running office-suite applications.

Web access is via DataWind’s proprietary UbiSurfer browser.

The commercial version of the tablet is called UbiSlate. Suneet Singh would like to see it on the streets by December, “But it all depends if we can make enough of them,” he said.

The UbiSlate will come with a modem to allow it to be used as a phone, and should sell for about $65, according to Suneet.

Units destined for the United Kingdom and the United States will come with unlimited Internet access. Suneet says his target price is $189 (U.S.), including a two-year data bundle.

He explains that DataWind designed and sourced its own components wherever possible, lowering costs.

“This is not a one-time opportunity,” he says. “There are 2½ to 3 million students entering university every year, as well as 80 million students in Grades 9 to 12, and the government is very serious about making mobile products available to this age group.”

“I could tell you a romantic story about two [Sikh] brothers who arrive in Montreal to get a great Canadian education, become citizens, and then go back to India to bring Internet to the masses,” says Suneet Singh.

“But the reality is, this is all about profit – my investors and board wouldn’t want it any other way.”


Suneet Singh Tuli is the CEO of Datawind Ltd., and a serial entrepreneur. He graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering, but soon forayed into the electronics business in 1990 as a founder of company that manufactured large format fax, scanning and plotting equipment. In the last 21 years, he’s successfully taken two companies public on the Nasdaq stock market, launched 17 new products and managed operations globally.

"All segments of society," Suneet says, "understand that education is key to improving their living standards. The internet holds the key to eliminating illiteracy, and I dream of a world where web access is as prevalent as mobile phones. I want to help achieve that goal by driving costs as low as possible. Let’s target bringing the next billion consumers on the internet.”

Suneet Singh feels the best life-book is The Guru Granth Sahib. In his words, ”the more you read it, the more you learn. Each time you read it, you grow more”.

DataWind has developed a breakthrough internet delivery platform, covered by 18 U.S. patents and several additional internal patents. This unique technology uses a client and server architecture to compress and accelerate the delivery of web pages. The result is that the average size of the web page is reduced by a factor of over thirty times.

"I learn from the life examples of Guru Gobind Singh, where he showed that against all obstacles, how to gain the strength to persevere. My father, Sardar.Lakhbir Singh has been an embodiment of hard work, passion and perseverance."

[Courtesy: The Toronto Star and Exhibit Mag. Edited for]

October 8, 2011

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