The road to riches of the cheap tablet: Aakash tablet maker files for IPO

June 6, 2014
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While most manufacturers are struggling with tablets, Datawind has been surfing on the tablet wave. It now prepares to be listed on a North American stock exchange.

The British-Canadian company filed documents this week to sell shares in Canada and become listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Using the mid-point of the offering size and price range, Datawind would raise US$27M and have a post-IPO value of about US$ 107M.

You’ve not read a lot about Datawind on The Verge, Gizmodo or Engadget, though. That’s because its devices don’t compete on the cutting-edge front but rather in the low-end market.

As an unsung hero of the tablet revolution, Datawind is all about accessibility. Its first tablet, called Aakash (“Sky” in Hindi), was designed as an answer to a “$35 laptop” project launched by India’s government with a focus on education. While the price of the device was about $50 range initially, an evolved version of that Android tablet is now sold in the US, the UK and Canada under the UbiSlate brand at about $38.

The Datawind story hasn’t been a smooth ride but it’s been fascinating. (If you want to know more, read the in-depth report published by the Toronto Globe and Mail’s magazine in December 2011.)


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