At the beginning of this month, Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of India, unveiled what he declared was the world’s cheapest Android tablet. Called Aakash (which means “Sky” in Hindi), the Android tablet costs INR 1750, which converts to roughly about $35 (USD).
The cheapest Android tablet in the United States are made by no-name manufacturers like Maylong and Eken and even they hover around the $200 range. Some of these cheap tablet’s don’t even function as full fledged tablets and are more like large versions of their smartphone counterpart.
So how did Datawind, the Indian owned Company that created the Aakash Android Tablet, pull this off without losing money or quality in the manufacturing process?
CEO Suneet Singh Tuli has the scoop. Aakash is made by Tuli’s UK based company Datawind. To manufacture this tablet, the company set up a manufacturing unit in Hyderabad, India. Hence the “Made In India” stamp. The tablet has over 800 components sourced from various places around the world. For instance, the LCD screen comes from South Korea, the microprocessor comes from the United States.
Although all the components come from different parts of the world, the actual tablet is still assembled in India.
How The World’s Cheapest Android Tablet Is Made
CEO Tuli explains how he was able to keep costs down by avoiding finished components and going down to the real component level. The average manufacture does not get down to the real component level. They buy modules, a finished component, which usually have high markups per component. They get a bunch of finished components and put the device together in an assembly factory.
By removing the margins on the modules and going down to the component level, Datawind is able to cut costs drastically in the manufacturing process for the Aakash Android tablet. Even for the LCD screen, which is 1 of the most expensive tablet component, Datawind was able to push it’s cost down to under 10$.
One thing that I think CEO Tuli didn’t mention, but probably holds some truth is “Corporate Greed“. I think Datawind is not greedy like most American and European manufactures and has a relatively low margin on it’s own finished product, the World’s Cheapest Android tablet.