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Cheapest is NOT the option in the Bolehland

Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of DataWind, the small British-based company that developed Aakash, displays the "world's cheapest" tablet during its launch ceremony in New Delhi October 5, 2011. REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma

A friend of mine received RM5 million free R&D fund from the MavCap for e-book project a few years ago. The targeted price range for made-in-Malaysia e-book is like high-end laptop PC. The company expects BN government via bumi crony connection to buy their products as a free gift for all students in Malaysia.

That is a billion business if the plan is worked out!

I foresee the project will fail before a prototype is delivered. Yes, the e-book project was dead on the drawing board.

We Malaysian taxpayers footed RM5 million bill from the MavCap!

RM200 tablet computer sounds more reasonable for our primary school students.

Why India can do it by coming out USD60 gadget? Because cheapest is NOT the option in the Bolehland.

India launches “world’s cheapest” tablet computer

By Frank Jack Daniel

NEW DELHI | Wed Oct 5, 2011 9:40am EDT

(Reuters) – India launched what it dubbed the world’s cheapest tablet computer Wednesday, to be sold to students at the subsidized price of $35 and later in shops for about $60.

Most of India’s 1.2 billion people are poor and products such as Apple Inc’s iPad are beyond the reach even of many in the fast-growing middle class.

“The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide,” Telecoms and Education Minister Kapil Sibal said.

The government is buying the first units of the lightweight touch-screen device, called Aakash, or “sky” in Hindi, for $50 each from a British company which is assembling the web-enabled devices in India.

A pilot run of 100,000 units will be given to students for free, with the first 500 handed out at the launch to a mixed response. It supports video conferencing, has two USB ports and a three-hour battery life but some users said it was slow.

India has a reputation for creating affordable products that are easy to use and sturdy enough to handle its rugged environment — from Tata Motors’ $2,000 Nano car to generic versions of pharmaceuticals.

Two years in development, the paperback book-sized Aakash may help the government’s goal of incorporating information technology in education, although critics were doubtful of its mass appeal.

Despite being a leader in software and IT services, India trails fellow BRIC nations Brazil, Russia and China in the drive to get the masses connected to the Internet and mobile phones, a report by risk analysis firm Maplecroft said this year.

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. That compares with nearly 40 percent in China.

The Aakash is aimed at university students for digital learning via a government platform that distributes electronic books and courses.

Testing included running video for two hours in temperatures of 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) to mimic a northern Indian summer, said DataWind, the small London-based company that developed the tablet with the Indian Institute of Technology.

Rajat Agrawal, executive editor of gadget reviewers BGR India, said the 660 mhz processor from U.S. company Conexant Systems was “decent” for the price, but warned the machine seemed slow and the touch screen not very agile.

“Because of the price there is a lot of excitement,” he said. “People might use it initially but if it is not user friendly they will give up within a week.”

After first giving them out for free, the government aims to sell them to students for $35 next year. A retail version will be sold in Indian shops for about $60.

The device uses resistive LCD displays rather than a full touch screen and connects via wireless broadband. DataWind CEO Suneet Singh said future versions would include a mobile phone connection, making it more useful in rural areas.

The launch last week of Amazon’s Kindle Fire shook up the global tablet market, with its $199 price tag and slick browser a serious threat to Apple’s iPad.

Like the Kindle Fire, the Aakash uses the Google Android operating system.

Some of the mainly middle-class technology department students at the event said it needed refinement but was a good option for the poor.

“It could be better,” said Nikant Vohra, an electrical engineering student. “If you see it from the price only, it’s okay, but we have laptops and have used iPads, so we know the difference.”

Some 19 million people subscribe to mobile phones every month, making India the world’s fastest growing market, but most are from the wealthier segment of the population in towns.

(Additional reporting by Annie Banerji and Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Paul de Bendern and Nick Macfie)

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Alfred says:

AG reports has repeatedly shown that our civil servants paid high dollars for low cost/cheap items.

Why nobody is prosecuted for wastage (corruption?)?

Dabangg of Muar says:

at least u know know how in computer tweaking.
i tried that on my old acer notebook and more problems surfaced as i accidentally remove some critical dll files.

nkkhoo says:

My laptop went kaput when I was in Kampung recently. Service technician in KL told me it costs more than RM300 to repair, it’s better for me to buy a new one than repair a 7-year old laptop PC.

I heed the advice, will looking for Asus netbook soon.

My first laptop is Acer brand, lasted for a year only. I vowed I never purchased any Acer PC after a very bad customer service from Acer.

Acer and HP computers are bad in reliability besides poor customer service.

Besides user-friendly and good design, Apple products got wow factor. Many people buy iPad, iPhone, etc. for kiasu reason, not they really need these products.

I will not follow this market trend to buy expensive iPad which is not meeting my requirements.

Apple can still make money by slashing price to 50% for all Apple products.

A kampung folk is a popular peanut biscuit manufacturer, he decided to sell biscuits at low price in kampungs for more people to afford it in a bad economic year.

His found out kampoing folks not buying low price biscuits as expected. He then adjusted the price to much higher, amazingly more kampong folks bought his biscuits like no tomorrow.

The guy had learned a lesson, selling cheap is not always a good strategy in business.

More expensive means more wow factor.

Dabangg of Muar says:

wah lau eh
i spent RM1.1K for my net pc thru hard work n sweat.
now saving up to buy a steve jobs’ legacy in ipad
but not sure if 7″ Amazon Kindre a better buy over 10″ iPad.
of course prize a big factor bcoz i ain’t crony or mca guy where goodies comes free.
any advice nkkhoo on which tablet pc ?

nkkhoo says:

I will not buy any tablet computer except the one from India.

I’m still using 7-year old Package Dell laptop whenever I am traveling. After tweaking and deleting many idle software, my old laptop is running faster than ever. See no good reason to replace it with a netbook.

Saiful K says:

Can you advise what software/utility to use to tweak my notebook for better performance? My PC took a long time to shut down as I suspect many unnecessary software are running in the background (Microsoft trying to collect data?).

nkkhoo says:

Get this freeeware http://www.nkkhoo.com/2008/12/18/myfreeware-3-glary-utilities/ to clean up dead dlls.

This freeware is not effective as below paid software.

Uninstall those seldom used and never used software with Perfect Uninstaller.

Then use RegGenie to remove dead dlls.

(Use baidu.com to search for free keys if you do not mind for breaking the law).

Saiful K says:

Any assurance that such utilities got no spyware or virus? Is Galry still useful?

I was told cannot anyhow delete dll as it may make other software invalid.

nkkhoo says:

There is always a risk in anything we do. Delete dll is not harmful if you know which dll is dead and not related to any useful software.

Insofar, only one WMV codecs in my PC is affected by these dll cleaning software, other software are intact.

Saiful K says:

Same reason why MSC has failed miserably.

Same reason why TMNut continue to be TMNut.

Because real talent is ignored due to kulitfication policy.

How can we have a real Transformasi when meritocracy is ignored?

Lu pikirlah sendiri!