If the prices in the tablets continue to decrement like that in a few years, everything will have a touch screen with android os inside. I am going beyond the article, and I can say that don't be surprised if you see the new electronic revolution taking part inside your house.
Most people use only 10-20% of feature of most advanced product. It is not really the need of some essential feaures or need of device in itself. But when one has more money, ones need increases to spend this money and they end up buying extra screens - TV or computer or other devices.
For example, I have advanced laptop at home alongwith two other highend desktops, but I mainly use it only for internet and email. My wife always complain for it. Now, I may like to get iPAD!
the Aakash isn't going to appeal to the mass market either
@Barbara, Aakash will be distrubuted among college students at very affordable rates. This device is released by the government of India with the intenet of erasing the digital divide. This device is a very good news for many of Indian rural students who couldn't have afforded a Tablet.
I hemmed and hawed for a while on the value of an Ereader considering I already have a laptop and smart phone (and I am a thrifty Scotsman too) but eventually I spent the $100 on a Kindle and was immediately hooked. It is perfect for reading and I like it much better for reading novels than laptops, phones and even the books themselves.
This sounds like an excellent price point to get many people interested, or to use in schools as cheaper alternatives. My wife and I have the same thoughts as you. We would like a tablet, but wondered what would we really do with it. The laptop goes anywhere when the possibility of work is there, we both have smartphones to take care of things when we don't have the laptop. We had the chance to buy the Touchpad, and decided not to at the last minute because we just didn't see the need for it right now.
I'm sure the time will come when we buy our first screen, and hopefully just take that along instead of the laptop but who knows when that will be.
What comes in $38 is a base product with limited memory and no camera. The Govt of India will be giving subsidy on this product when it is sold to the students. So my guess is the actual price with optional add-ons and without govt subsidy will turn out to be around $100.
For a Govt which is in as much debt as the Indian Govt is(which is effectively leading to more and more Money-printing and the end result is Inflation);do you think the Indian Govt can afford to subsidize a Tablet to such an extent(over 50%),especially a device which may or may not be reliable.Would'nt it have made more sense to go with one of the bigger and more established players and get it sold through Govt channels at Cost Price(without any subsidies)???
The introduction of this tablet at $ 38 is only a move to get target market to accept it without second thought. For students coming from rural and low-middle class background price point is the prime concern. And, providing millions of such students with a computing device is what the vision seems to be. "Bridging the digital divide". The human resource minister in India is a charismatic person, who likes to be in the spotlight and hence is subsidizing and ushering this project in a grandiloquent fashion. As far as the inflationary and debt concerns go, the strain on the exchequer would be a fraction of what some other ministeries/ministers inflict through senseless spending. At least, the cause in this case appears to be noble.
If it really was a question of bridging the digital divide/bringing millions of those across rural India online then we already have such a Device available to all Indians-Its the Cellphone/mobile.
Just provide adequate Taxbreaks to Telecom providers in the rural sector and on all low cost Mobile handsets and Voila!!! Let the market decide and pick the right winner.Instead of trying to forcefeed a market as vibrant and diverse as India.The Govt will fail just like all past ventures here.
Its another publicity stunt from Kapil Sibal.No more,No less.
I do agree with Prabhakar that $38 is the price after government subsidy. I think this is one of the best things any government can invest in and Indian government is doing the same. Already governments waste so much money in useless projects. What they need to do along with this would be to also improve upon the infrastructure so the internet access on these tablets becomes easier and cheaper. If the project is a success, it would really help the students and prove to be a big boost to the economy.
Of course, I was trying to be polite when I said he was a "Charismatic" person. Thanks for putting it in so many words. My thoughts resonate with yours on that count.
Let us put aside, for the sake of discussion, the step taken by the govt. here and look at the problem at hand.I still think that the low cost cellphone already has a huge penetration and does not cut it as a computing device. Think high school and college students in tier 3 cities and below-Cellphone today is ubiquitous. Majority do not own a computer or a smartphone.More fundamental to our understanding would be what a high school/College student does essentially need from a computer and what are some of the primary concerns.
a. Should have Internet Connectivity, USB, Audio out. Average resolution display and simple I/O interface.
b. Software should allow basic functions: Internet Browser, Document editor/reader, presentations, Spreadsheets.
c. Can have limited multimedia features.(HD would be a bonus)
d. Limited performance and storage would be Okay. Two hours on battery or more.
In my humble opinion, a price point close to Rs. 3000 for the above set would be attractive to the crowd I mention and if the device doubles up as a Phone nothing like it to attract youngsters as they come up.
So far, It appears Ubislate and Indian Govt. have got it right on the above feature set. What remains to be seen is if it gets a warm reception and positive reviews. Unless there is some bug/major drawback/irritant with the users which results in the tab getting negative press, the project looks good for initial pilot run and beyond. There is no other alternative in sight as yet.
I had posted on this issue here as well.
Lets just wait and watch the initial reviews and results first.
At the price-point you mention[Maximum USD 60];there are about 3 smartphones(with reasonable internet connectivity in the Indian market today]
However none of them come from the major/well-established vendors.
That's primarily because of the Huge amount of Sales tax slapped on all phones sold in India.Give tax-breaks on the lowest cost phones and see adoption zoom upwards...
The moment you add more complexity into an electronic product the cost and reliability immediately suffers.
This is an issue which will not be escaped by the Akash as well.
I'm curious as to why the Indian gov't would need to provide tablets to university students. I would think university students might be on a budget, but not economically disadvantaged. Also the money might be better spent advancing literacy among the public.
I wouldn't want to get too dependent on a computer provided to me by the government. In light of recent events the government may well want to keep tabs on students, and that would be a good way to do it.
I would think university students might be on a budget, but not economically disadvantaged.
@stochastic excursion in India 50% of the university seats are reserved for economically/socially backward students. They can't afford to buy 100$+ tablets. The main reason behind the government providing tablets to university students is to erase the digital divide between rich and the poor.
@ Barbara, you may be right that Aakash is not going to appeal to the mass market because it is not designed for mass use, the target are students and if students could found it useful and appealing, I think it's going to stay.
Aakash isn't going to appeal to the mass market either as a souped-up e-reader or as a stripped-down tablet.
@Barbara, In my opinion Aakash is going to appeal to the mass market. One of the engineering colleges here where my brother is studying is offering this tablet at 1600 INR (32$). He was saying that 90% of the college has registered to buy this tablet. I think 30$ price tag will attract many customers.
It seems India's model of growth is being driven by the simple economies scale. Aakash is actually one technology among other cheap innovations that sweep India now. Few years back, India built the cheapest car Tata Nano, these Indian innovations may not be of use to developed countries but underdeveloped countries will embrace it.
The Nano was actually a big flop in India.
The main reason being-People wanted a higher quality product and are willing to pay more for it.
Now Tata Motors is planning to export it countries poorer than India like Sri Lanka,Nepal and parts of Africa were they hope it will be a better success than in India.
Ashish, your great post allows me to put on present board one of the thoughts got back to me while reading Barbara's editorial and below posts. Will be in the future a unique device for everything, I mean for any personal needs? (making call, watching video, word processing, reading e-book)
Barbara - I can relate. Many of these convenience devices such as e-readers and tablets, do not promise the return I'd be looking for. But then, like you, I too am using an old non-smart cell phone, so we're not necessarily prime targets.
I like both my laptop and my iPad tablet but I will not trade the former for the latter. Tablets are great devices, but you don't buy one just to follow the current trends. I bought one because I needed an e-reader, but I was not satisfied with my experience with a standard reader. I haven't regret my purchase, even though I'm doing "very" little thing with my tablet than I would like to.
For students, tablets are absolutely great. Why? Because textbooks are ridiculously expensive. They can easily reach $250 each. I'm not kidding. Electronic versions of them are substantially cheaper. If you are going to read eBooks, then you want the lightest, most portable reader there is. That's usually a tablet. If you save $150 per textbook by buying e-versions, then a $99 investment for a tablet reader has an immediate net return.
Besides, with an eBook, you can adjust the size of the print and the page. Makes studying easier. Plus, the tablet weighs a lot less than the huge, heavy text.
This is a lesson for any company that needs to have heavy documentation on hand for any purpose. A tablet lets every employee keep a full set of docs on hand for easy, immediate use. Plus you have communications, the ability to read QR codes, and who knows what else?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.