Aakash pre-orders hit 1.4 million units

by Doug Drinkwater

January 4 2012

The Aakash will be subsidized by government funding
The Aakash will be subsidized by government funding

Datawind confirms that Aakash pre-orders have reached 1.4 million units, just two weeks after the device went on sale for Rs 2,500 (just under $50)

The British vendor, which was founded in Canada, says that it has been surprised by the ‘unexpected’ demand for the tablet, and has subsequently decided to establish three new factories in Cochin, Noida and Hyderabad, to build the device. These factories will go live in the second half of 2012 and will join Datawind’s existing factory in Hyderabad, which is used by Quad to make the LCD panel for the slate.

"We never expected such a high response from both corporate and individual buyers”, said Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tulu. “We plan to supply 70,000-75,000 units per day once the factories are in place by April.”

Tulu went onto say that demand for the tablet was so strong that Indian authorities thought that Datawind had become victim to a large cyber-attack, and revealed that e-commerce provider Ncarry.com has already sold a first batch of 30,000 Aakash tablets.

Aakash pre-orders were estimated to be around 400,000 units in October, a staggering figure given the belief that the Indian tablet market as a whole totalled around 250,000- 300,000 tablets up until last year.

By some way of comparison, Apple was believed to have sold around one million iPads in the 28 days since the first launch in April 2010, and three million units after 80 days.

The Aakash has a 7-inch resistive touchscreen display, runs Android 2.2, has a 366MHz processor and offers 256GB of RAM and 2GB of Flash memory. Although it’s current price works out as under $50, the Indian government plans to subsidize the device to students, taking the asking price down to around $35.

Datawind plans to offer a new version of the Aakash from next month. The Aakash Ubislate 7 will have a SIM card slot, offer internet connection by GPRS or 2G (the current model only supports WiFi) and will also have a faster 700 MHz processor (the current version has a 366 MHz processor). The new version will sell for Rs 2,999 (approximately $55).

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