The world’s cheapest tablet, Aakash, has received about 3 lakh pre-launch bookings for its commercial version that goes on sale from November end. A subsidised model of this tablet, made by UK-based Datawind, has already being distributed free in schools and colleges. Aakash’s retail bookings exceed India’s estimated 250,000 tablet PC market, dominated by Apple, Samsung and Reliance. The company expects to have a customer base of nearly 1 lakh customers per month for the commercial variant of the tablet.
According to Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli, the data streaming technology offered by his company could make internet access costs virtually free. It will help the online retail immensely. He is also experimenting with a technology that can stream a 700MB file compressed into a 25MB on a tablet. Aircel could be the likely operator, said executives of the two companies, requesting anonymity.
It is expected to change lot of things in existing digital market. The tablet market is expected to see a price war as Reliance Industries and Bharti Group are also gearing up to offer cheaper data plans on tablets. RIL may slash the cost of data download to as low as Rs 10 per GB on its upcoming Rs 6,000 tablet. Data downloads cost around Rs 100 per GB for most operators now. As per KPMG, Samsung has about 80% share of the market, followed by Apple with 5% share. Reliance Tab has become the third largest after Apple and Samsung tablets.
The number of Internet users grew 15-fold between 2000 and 2010 in India, according to another recent report. Still, just 8 percent of Indians have access in compared to nearly 40 percent in China.