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$35 Indian Tablet Has Until March 31st To Ship or Be Cancelled 46

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the too-good-to-be-true dept.
damitr writes "With a lot of fanfare the Indian Government had launched a $35 tablet named Aakash (The Sky). Despite skepticism, the government went ahead with the project. But delays in production and deployment of the tablet have left the project in risk of failure. The manufacturer has been unable to supply the required 100,000 units, and a deadline of March 31 has been set. The new minister Pallam Raju says: 'Aakash is only a tablet... there are other such devices as well. While work will continue to develop it and increase its productivity, manufacturing is obviously a problem.'" For what it's worth, they did manage to ship 17,000 of them. It looks like meeting the deadline is impossible and the $35 tablet is dead.
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$35 Indian Tablet Has Until March 31st To Ship or Be Cancelled

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @08:57AM (#43301933)

    They should just outsource production to Ind... no wait...

    • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @09:11AM (#43302049) Journal

      Curiously, they handed it to a London-headquartered Canadian firm [wikipedia.org](with a slightly... unenviable... reputation for order fulfillment), who then handed the manufacturing side back to an Indian firm [quadelectronics.com]. No word on whether the Indian firm is mostly a thin shell of management and a few field engineers who exist to look over the shoulders of the Chinese sub-subcontractors to keep them from swapping in cheaper parts when nobody is looking...

      Too many cooks, etc.

      • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

        by unixisc (2429386) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @09:27AM (#43302161)

        Looks like everybody is out to demonstrate how good they are at outsourcing. Just wait until the Chinese and Africans too get in on the act - then we might see jobs coming back to the US

        And the Indian government was involved in creating a tablet because....?

        • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @10:16AM (#43302609) Journal

          Looks like everybody is out to demonstrate how good they are at outsourcing. Just wait until the Chinese and Africans too get in on the act - then we might see jobs coming back to the US

          And the Indian government was involved in creating a tablet because....?

          The Indian government's interest in all this had something to do with an e-textbook initiative. Apparently their dead-tree versions are seriously uneven in terms of age and availability, so the prospect of something that could be updated more easily and be all 21st century and stuff was attractive.

          What is somewhat less clear is why this got them involved in hardware, rather than just software and content. There are only about a zillion Chinese OEMs slitting each other's throats to build slightly cheaper crap-tablets, and many of them produce quite similar designs around a handful of cheap SoCs. Sure, doing platform validation is a pain in the ass; but they could have had multiple, interchangeable, vendors eating out of the palm of their hand instead of having one pet fuckup...

      • by guttentag (313541) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @09:38AM (#43302251) Journal

        No word on whether the Indian firm is mostly a thin shell of management and a few field engineers who exist to look over the shoulders of the Chinese sub-subcontractors to keep them from swapping in cheaper parts when nobody is looking...

        At $35 for a 7" touchscreen tablet, how much cheaper can you get on parts? A Fisher-Price "tablet" [fisher-price.com] (no touch screen, no shift key, has a "10" key instead of a "0," but it does have a light-up LCD screen that changes color) costs $25, and even then consumers in the two-to-five-year-old bracket are refusing to use it because they keys are too cheaply made. What "cheaper parts" could the sub-subcontractors possibly swap in? Horse meat [wikipedia.org]? Melamine [wikipedia.org]?

        I can see the reviews now: "Bought these for my kids, but they leak some kind of liquid. Kids won't touch them, but the cat loved it. The cat's dead now, vet said his kidneys failed, so at least I'm saving money on cat food."

      • Too many crooks

        Easiest FTFY ever.

    • Call center help, no problem. Manufacturing, problem. I just returned from India (forgive me those of you in India reading this right now), but highly efficient manufacturing is not what India is known for. Got to China to get it built fast and cheap. India has other strengths.
  • No surprise (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It's engineers and target customers were too busy shitting in the streets to bother.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      more likely datawind realized that selling customer info wasn't going to make up the deficit in price(mandatory product registration).

      what's intriguing is that aakash2 was/is supposed to have gsm+3g calls - though unfulfilled patent probs too.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How much of that failure can be attributed to a filthy corrput government and poor management of resources?

    Being from another country run by a highy corrupt government (Brazil), I'm pretty sure that this $35 tablet was never meant to exist as a real product. It was only a sophisticated money laudring scheme with a few prototypes to show for it.

    • You nailed it! I am from India and was thinking the exact same thing. Now that the minister whose 'pet project' this scam was has moved onto another one, the new guy want's to shut it down. I am sure he will find some other less fancy money making scheme. Note: This is called a money making scheme, not laundering. (Laundering is when you use a business to make your illegitimate money as legitimate as possible.) (Sorry I haven't yet figured out how to up vote comments, or am I allowed to?)
  • You can't take "The Sky" from me!

    • by idontgno (624372)

      There's a problem, feathers iron
      Bargain buildings, weights and pullies
      Feathers hit the ground before the weight can leave the air
      Buy the sky and sell the sky and tell the sky and tell the sky

      (chorus)
      Fall on me (what is it up in the air for) (it's gonna fall)
      Fall on me (if it's there for long) (it's gonna fall)
      Fall on me (it's over it's over me) (it's gonna fall)

      There's the progress we have found (when the rain)
      A way to talk around the problem (when the children reign)
      Building towered foresight (k

  • There is no shortage of low end tablets. A 35 dollar tablet is just going to carry the same stigma as the Coby and Archos products. I wouldn't even give these devices to a kid as a toy because they're buggy and barely have the specs to run Android.

    People who can't shell out for an iPad have plenty of mid-range tablets to choose from by Asus, Samsung and Sony, not to mention the Kindle Fire is a pretty decent tablet when rooted and flashed with Cyanogen.

  • They outsourced management to some first world company (ok, most likely it was an international bidding that was 'won' by some first world company), who outsourced production to India, where the outsourcer decided it's cheaper to outsource to China, and they caught on by now too and the whole deal ended up being assembled somewhere in Africa.

    Keep dumping wages, countries of the first world, maybe some time we will become the outsource center of Africa! So we can then build the tablets, ship them through Afr

  • Did anyone really expect a notoriously slow, incompetent and corrupt institution like the Indian government get such a project ready on schedule ??? I mean... the Easter Rabbit does not exist, either.
  • Looks like another round of indian vaporware to me. Lots of noise and press for a proyect and then they fail to deliver.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..like being the worlds first 100% wipe-clean, shit-proof tablet for when the targeted domestic market use it to wipe their asses in public.

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