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Thread: India's $20 Tablet--A Game Changer

  1. #1

    Default India's $20 Tablet--A Game Changer

    Excerpts from:
    How a $20 tablet from India could blindside PC makers, educate billions and transform computing as we know it

    The Aakash 2 isn’t just the cheapest fully functional tablet PC on the planet because the Indian government has decided it should be—it’s the cheapest, period....the ultimate price university students will pay for [this] tablet, after half its cost has been subsidized by the Indian government, is $20.


    Ubislate - the commercial version of the Aakash 2 (Aakash means "blue sky")

    Disrupting the world’s largest tech companies

    “The revolution will come from the developing world to the US,” says Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic. “These tablets will kill the markets for high-end players—for Microsoft in particular.”

    Wadhwa knows Tuli and has become the Aakash 2′s champion stateside, writing about the device and getting it into the hands of executives. He believes that the $40 price of the tablet could drop to $25 within a year. “I showed a Google executive [this] tablet. He suddenly realized that his $99 tablet isn’t going to stand up to the $25 tablet from India.”

    Many in Silicon Valley are suddenly fixated on cheap tablets. “I see a lot of the PC makers and hardware companies here [in the US] are going to build a tablet strategy,” says Jay Goldberg, a financial analyst who was surprised to discover on his last trip to China just how cheap functional 7″ tablets have become. “But if there are already $45 tablets out there, even that second-tier strategy [of replacing lost PC sales with tablets] is going to fail.”

    Everyone I interviewed for this piece thought that Apple, as a company that differentiates itself by being a high-end brand, would survive the coming of cheap tablets. But Goldberg and Wadhwa agreed that other manufacturers of Android-based tablets, even Samsung, would have a hard time staying in the hardware market.

    Free tablets and ubiquitous computing

    “[In the US,] you will see tablets everywhere,” says Wadhwa. “They will become disposable, and you will see thousands of new applications within a short period of time.”

    Tuli thinks he can eventually bring the Aakash 2 to the US at a $50 retail price, and if trends continue, that price will continue to fall.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to think of applications for devices that cheap. “If I were to start a company today, I’d say what kind of a business can I build if the hardware is almost disposable?” says Goldberg. “In a restaurant, if every waiter or maitre d’ has a tablet, now someone can go build a good restaurant automation tool that links tablets to the chef station.”

    At some point, too, any company that can squeeze enough ads onto this class of tablets will start giving the tablet away for free. (Remember when USB thumb drives became inescapable promotional giveaways?) The commercial version of the Aakash 2, the $70 Ubislate, affords Datawind almost no profit margin at all. But, like Amazon and Google, which have adopted a business model of selling their hardware at cost and making money on content instead (Amazon by selling e-books, and Google by selling ads), Datawind is using Yahoo’s ad marketplace to sell advertisements on the toolbar of apps on the Ubislate.


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  3. #2

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    I'm glad to see that it runs on Android. I'm really excited about this tablet. I won't buy one, but now that India is entering our market with their tech, that means tech prices will drop across the board. Pretty soon, I'd bet you will be able to buy brand new smartphones (without a contract upgrade) for less than $200.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneEnochs View Post
    I'm glad to see that it runs on Android. I'm really excited about this tablet. I won't buy one, but now that India is entering our market with their tech, that means tech prices will drop across the board. Pretty soon, I'd bet you will be able to buy brand new smartphones (without a contract upgrade) for less than $200.
    But it's India! They're cheating by using cheap affordable semi-skilled labor!
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    Some specs: http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/11/a...-tablet-india/
    It's the second iteration of what amounts to a barebones, affordable Android slate, packing a 7-inch touch panel, 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of Flash storage, Android 4.0.3, built-in WiFi and a front-facing VGA camera. Reportedly, this one's going to be shipped to Indian students for Rs 1,130 (around $21), while outsiders will be able to snag one for closer to $80. Of course, the difference now is that these kinds of projects aren't quite as novel. Indeed, Chinese megashops are hawking low-rate Android tablets right now for around the same amount, setting a new (low) bar when it comes to pricing on ho hum slates.
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  6. #5

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    It's pretty cool, but the commercial (unsubsidized) price seems to be somewhere between $60 and $80 depending on what story you read. Still seems to be a great deal.

    I'm a big fan of the Raspberry Pi which retails for $35. It doesn't have a touch screen or GPRS radio included, but a hacker could definitely add those on if desired.
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  7. #6

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    It would be ironic if all the Indians Microsoft hired went back................
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  8. #7

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    FYI I prefer brand names. Current prices are not that high for the amount of time I use the tablets and smart phones. But if this makes the stuff I buy cheaper more power to them.
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  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    It would be ironic if all the Indians Microsoft hired went back................
    Why, don't they like being Balmers bitches...
    Bwahahahahaha
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  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by brandon View Post
    It's pretty cool, but the commercial (unsubsidized) price seems to be somewhere between $60 and $80 depending on what story you read. Still seems to be a great deal.
    I like it for the same reason I like Bitcoin technology. It's not about first implementations, but the fact that they manifested in the first place--as proof of concept. Once the cat is out of the bag, it can mutate and go viral in successive waves and different forms.

  11. #10

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    For this price I think quality control is non-existent and returns are not allowed. Still, if it works, even for just a year at that price, it is one heck of a deal even if it is very slow. Most people use tablets for reading or surfing the web, so speed isn't a very important factor for most tasks done with a tablet.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Excerpts from:
    How a $20 tablet from India could blindside PC makers, educate billions and transform computing as we know it

    The Aakash 2 isn’t just the cheapest fully functional tablet PC on the planet because the Indian government has decided it should be—it’s the cheapest, period....the ultimate price university students will pay for [this] tablet, after half its cost has been subsidized by the Indian government, is $20.


    Ubislate - the commercial version of the Aakash 2 (Aakash means "blue sky")

    Disrupting the world’s largest tech companies

    “The revolution will come from the developing world to the US,” says Vivek Wadhwa, an entrepreneur and academic. “These tablets will kill the markets for high-end players—for Microsoft in particular.”

    Wadhwa knows Tuli and has become the Aakash 2′s champion stateside, writing about the device and getting it into the hands of executives. He believes that the $40 price of the tablet could drop to $25 within a year. “I showed a Google executive [this] tablet. He suddenly realized that his $99 tablet isn’t going to stand up to the $25 tablet from India.”

    Many in Silicon Valley are suddenly fixated on cheap tablets. “I see a lot of the PC makers and hardware companies here [in the US] are going to build a tablet strategy,” says Jay Goldberg, a financial analyst who was surprised to discover on his last trip to China just how cheap functional 7″ tablets have become. “But if there are already $45 tablets out there, even that second-tier strategy [of replacing lost PC sales with tablets] is going to fail.”

    Everyone I interviewed for this piece thought that Apple, as a company that differentiates itself by being a high-end brand, would survive the coming of cheap tablets. But Goldberg and Wadhwa agreed that other manufacturers of Android-based tablets, even Samsung, would have a hard time staying in the hardware market.

    Free tablets and ubiquitous computing

    “[In the US,] you will see tablets everywhere,” says Wadhwa. “They will become disposable, and you will see thousands of new applications within a short period of time.”

    Tuli thinks he can eventually bring the Aakash 2 to the US at a $50 retail price, and if trends continue, that price will continue to fall.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to think of applications for devices that cheap. “If I were to start a company today, I’d say what kind of a business can I build if the hardware is almost disposable?” says Goldberg. “In a restaurant, if every waiter or maitre d’ has a tablet, now someone can go build a good restaurant automation tool that links tablets to the chef station.”

    At some point, too, any company that can squeeze enough ads onto this class of tablets will start giving the tablet away for free. (Remember when USB thumb drives became inescapable promotional giveaways?) The commercial version of the Aakash 2, the $70 Ubislate, affords Datawind almost no profit margin at all. But, like Amazon and Google, which have adopted a business model of selling their hardware at cost and making money on content instead (Amazon by selling e-books, and Google by selling ads), Datawind is using Yahoo’s ad marketplace to sell advertisements on the toolbar of apps on the Ubislate.


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    If its already that cheap, why is it even subsidized. A 40 dollar tablet is a game changer too.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tttppp View Post
    If its already that cheap, why is it even subsidized. A 40 dollar tablet is a game changer too.
    I'm guessing because Indians are that poor. Remember this is the country where scooters are more common than cars, and the cars are glorified scooters.
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  14. #13

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    I hope this lights a fire under the asses of other tablet manufacturers. More competition, better quality, lower prices - free market FTW.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by bxm042 View Post
    But it's India! They're cheating by using cheap affordable semi-skilled labor!
    Someone stop that farmer he is cheating! He is producing more food at cheaper prices because he works longer and for less money!
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  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
    Someone stop that farmer he is cheating! He is producing more food at cheaper prices because he works longer and for less money!
    Damn those illegal aliens.

  17. #16
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    *covers up.. her age is showing again*

    I've never even considered a tablet that didn't involve lined paper.. not even sure what they do frankly.

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  18. #17

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    The specs on these are way overkill. These only need to do 3 or 4 things to dramatically improve lives.
    1) Connect merchants to buyers and sellers
    2) Be able to use media, or download from the internet videos or programs that can teach reading skills
    3) Be able to display video or text that teaches improved farming or craft skills/best practices

    If they can reduce the cost by just maintaining these specs, that would be awesome. I wonder what the bare minimum price would be?

    A tablet with circa year 2000 desktop equivalency plus wifi/cellular data that anyone in the world can afford will be revolutionary.

  19. #18

  20. #19

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    The cheap tablets are already here. Last christmas I bought a pair of 7" tablets from aliexpress, $99 each, for my niece and nephew. With 20 in shipping it was a great deal. I will say that quality wise they were OK but just don't feel as refined as a samsung or nexus. A little more and you go from OK to a nice system. I don't expect this to change the landscape overnight like the article is hyping.

    You can already get free smartphones and it's not like the US consumer has any real choice on networks. 3.. 4 if you're lucky, what's a network lockin mean if you have no choices.

  21. #20

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    article miss leading as usual.
    website to buy the item http://www.ubislate.com/
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  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by brandon View Post
    It's pretty cool, but the commercial (unsubsidized) price seems to be somewhere between $60 and $80 depending on what story you read. Still seems to be a great deal.

    I'm a big fan of the Raspberry Pi which retails for $35. It doesn't have a touch screen or GPRS radio included, but a hacker could definitely add those on if desired.
    A hacker can make something touchscreen?
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  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by John F Kennedy III View Post
    A hacker can make something touchscreen?
    Sure. It's called "plugging it into the touchscreen".

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  24. #23

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    There are certain goods that actually lose sales because they are too cheap. People expect Tablets to be a certain price and this one being less than half the cost of most competitors could have a negative perception.
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  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2young2vote View Post
    There are certain goods that actually lose sales because they are too cheap. People expect Tablets to be a certain price and this one being less than half the cost of most competitors could have a negative perception.
    Its made for the Indian market though. A lot of things that make sense there don't make sense here.

    For example, not so long ago it was very common to find Rs 1/- (2 cents) shampoo in tiny packs. The people who bought it were not travelers, they were just people who couldn't afford a full bottle. Many people lived hand to mouth so buying shampoo once a week for 2 cents was what they did, even though they could have bought a larger bottle and paid less per ounce.

    Its hard to imagine that if you've lived all your life in the US, very eye opening experience.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2young2vote View Post
    There are certain goods that actually lose sales because they are too cheap. People expect Tablets to be a certain price and this one being less than half the cost of most competitors could have a negative perception.
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBowman View Post
    Its made for the Indian market though. A lot of things that make sense there don't make sense here.

    For example, not so long ago it was very common to find Rs 1/- (2 cents) shampoo in tiny packs. The people who bought it were not travelers, they were just people who couldn't afford a full bottle. Many people lived hand to mouth so buying shampoo once a week for 2 cents was what they did, even though they could have bought a larger bottle and paid less per ounce.

    Its hard to imagine that if you've lived all your life in the US, very eye opening experience.
    You both make good points. Some months ago I bought a sub $100 tablet. I've been somewhat disappointed with it. To be fair, it did have fewer options than did the OP. (No way to plug in a keyboard, no camera etc). But I would be wary if this new Indian laptop had other limitations. How good is the screen resolution? How limited is the software? (The software on mine sucks). I want something I can readily re-program and not something that I'm stuck with canned software. The one I have, while running Android, is still rather limited.
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  27. #26

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    does that mean they have $5 phones too? holy crap!

    I have seen very cheap Android tablets for $70, or maybe even $50, but not $40.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by tasteless View Post
    I'm guessing because Indians are that poor. Remember this is the country where scooters are more common than cars, and the cars are glorified scooters.
    True, but it doesn't have to be subsidized to be sold here. Either way, that's a game changer whererever its sold regardless of subsidies.

  29. #28
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    Cue the tariff and patent infringement gang. This needs to have a $300 dollar tariff on it (for dumping) and be tied up in patent court for ten years or so...Oh, and its possibly a terrorist enabling device in some way too.

  30. #29
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    I am right now in India. Here is the report from the ground I got from a boy I asked. All the schools could order the Aakash while back (last year?), all the kids at the schools, and he asked his dad to order one, but he didn't. Lucky thing, because he has a friend who did order it (many kids did, of course) for the 300 rp downpayment, and never got it. Because no one ever got it. Everyone just lost their 300 rupees.

    So now you can order it again. But no one really wants one. He listed off various technical shortcomings of the Aakash (and he's not super-technical, so clearly these are well and popularly known) such as it has no wireless, the memory is too low ("so if you load Google and some other pages, it will come up very slow"), etc., etc.

    Having none of these shortcomings and being very much better in every way is the Micromax. It has 4 gigs memory, he told me, and anyway, is pretty good. That's the one the kids in India want. At first, people were skeptical of Micromax, thinking it was a Chinese company, bad quality, etc., but it turns out they are made in India and they have gained a good reputation. Their tablet is 6000 rps and the Aakash is 4000. So not much more. And the Aakash is junk. And will it ship, or just rip people off again?

    In short: to put the gov't in charge of electronics production will lead to stupendously bad results. It should never be done. Free market pwns all.

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