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

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the too-good-to-be-true dept.

Android 46

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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Where is the order form? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43301901)

And can we make up the deficit in bitcoin funding. If the order is cancelled all of Slashdot, including Goatse, APK, Natalie Portman, WIPO troll , Taco snotter and all the troll empires should pick it up and show them who is in conTROLL of their orders

Easy solution (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year and a half ago | (#43301933)

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

Re:Easy solution (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302049)

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 (3, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302609)

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...

Re:Easy solution (5, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302251)

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."

Re:Easy solution (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302547)

Have you seen the wholesale price of tablets in China?

http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=android+tablet [aliexpress.com]

Replace the capacitive screens with something cheaper, buy in bulk, and you're almost at $35.

Re:Easy solution (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43303351)

I imagine if you replaced the CPU with some gravel, you could drive the price even closer to the target!

Re:Easy solution (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43304393)

I imagine if you replaced the CPU with some gravel, you could drive the price even closer to the target!

Probably improve the performance too. :)

Re:Easy solution (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302645)

$35 was the target subsidized price. The target actual price was around twice that(which is pretty much the going rate [dx.com] for 7 inch tablets of unknown-but-suspect quality from nameless pacific rim OEMS).

Re:Easy solution (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302965)

Too many crooks

Easiest FTFY ever.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302065)

Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom?

Re:Easy solution (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302449)

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 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43301947)

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

Re:No surprise (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43301989)

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.

Re:No surprise (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302917)

Did you figure that out while shitting on some naan bread? Or while cleaning the ghee out of your wife's gunt.

The usual (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43301977)

India; Talk big, do little.

Re:The usual (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302829)

They poop big in the streets of bangalore and mumbai though.

Re:The usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43307847)

Yet you ask any Indian, and they claim they are a first world country. Ha!

You get what you pay for (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43301979)

At an expected price of only $35, one should expect what has happened. The US Government is beset by the same fantasy, work gets done for nothing, we just proclaim what we will pay and good things will still happen.

Re:You get what you pay for (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302731)

At an expected price of only $35, one should expect what has happened.

You can currently source a capacitive multitouch ICS device with a camera and fast SoC from eBay for $65 delivered to your door, first-world, quantity one. Could an order of 100,000 units with a resistive screen, without any middlemen get that down to $35? It seems entirely do-able. It's not going to be a great device, but better than no device.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43303373)

Prices dont always get cut in half just because you ordered 100,000 units.

Re:You get what you pay for (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#43303587)

Prices dont always get cut in half just because you ordered 100,000 units.

Agreed. Fortunately, that was only one of seven pricing factors I mentioned.

Re:You get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43304557)

Also, $35 was the subsidized price... so getting something for $60-70 that was expected for the total price definitely seems reasonable.

Before trolling starts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302099)

You get what you paid for.....99% of the time anyways. I was going to say something shoddy about the Indian culture along with China, but in all honesty, I've met some very bright Indian and Chinese individuals whose work ethics shadow those of US workers/ students. But at the same time, those bright individuals are also the ones with the most resources invested in them - for starters, them *being* in the US is quite a feat we take for granted. The amount of time and money they or their parents have invested in them is very apparent through their education, and it's unfortunate that international visas take advantage of them. They should know what they're worth in the international market.

Anyways....

I really do believe "you get what you paid for," but then, I'm reminded of the story of golf ball finders a British con artist was selling as "bomb detectors" for several thousand dollars each.

Re:Before trolling starts... (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302175)

I really do believe "you get what you paid for,"

If you're a third-worlder then $35 is a lot.

Re:Before trolling starts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302519)

Yeah, a lot. I don't always pay that much for a dinner.

Re:Before trolling starts... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43303355)

I really do believe "you get what you paid for,"

If you're a third-worlder then $35 is a lot.

That doesn't mean it is enough to get a good tablet.

Re:Before trolling starts... (2)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302225)

I really do believe "you get what you paid for," but then, I'm reminded of the story of golf ball finders a British con artist was selling as "bomb detectors" for several thousand dollars each.

That's the opposite of "you get what you paid for." It's called "Marketing."

Re:Before trolling starts... (4, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302443)

That's the opposite of "you get what you paid for." It's called "Marketing."

I think you misunderstood. Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 190a: "When you don't get what you think you paid for, then you paid for marketing, and you got what paid for." It's a sub-rule of Rule 190: "Hear all, trust nothing."

Re:Before trolling starts... (1)

xs650 (741277) | about a year and a half ago | (#43304351)

....

I really do believe "you get what you paid for," but then, I'm reminded of the story of golf ball finders a British con artist was selling as "bomb detectors" for several thousand dollars each.

A more realistic version of that old saw is "You rarely get more than you paid for."

Anyone who has been around a while realizes that you frequently get less than you paid for.

IeBay them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302123)

If the government don't buy them,I am sure hobbyists and hackers around the world would find use for them if they were only $35 each.

Re:IeBay them (3, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302273)

If the government don't buy them,I am sure hobbyists and hackers around the world would find use for them if they were only $35 each.

You wouldn't be able to sell them to individuals for $35 - Supply chains, distribution, packaging, returns, payment processing... All would drive up the cost. Price point would probably be $79 or so which, surprise surprise, is what a cheapo consumer Chinese tablet sells for.

Corruption (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43302575)

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.

Re:Corruption (1)

ColaBlizzard (2870167) | about a year and a half ago | (#43310211)

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?)

Cancelled?? Browncoats will never let it happen! (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302657)

You can't take "The Sky" from me!

Re:Cancelled?? Browncoats will never let it happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43303287)

Ah, but Akash is falling...

Re:Cancelled?? Browncoats will never let it happen (1)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#43303929)

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 (keep your conscience in the dark)
Isn't anything at all (melt the statues in the park)
Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky and tell the sky

(repeat chorus)

Fall on me

Well I could keep it above
But then it wouldn't be sky anymore
So if I send it to you you've got to promise to keep it whole

Buy the sky and sell the sky and lift your arms up to the sky
And ask the sky and ask the sky

(repeat chorus 2x)

-- Fall on Me by R.E.M., who apparently understand outsourcing and supply chains

Sub $100 tablets are already available. (1, Offtopic)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302683)

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.

Lemme guess (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43302855)

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 Africa, China and India back to our rich classes. Then we're back at the beginning of the industrial revolution, but compatible with global trade.

C'mon (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43303677)

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.

Re:C'mon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43303803)

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

- EB

GO GREEN with - The $2 Sand Table (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43304137)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_table

Indian Vaporware (1)

chelip (890174) | about a year and a half ago | (#43304265)

Looks like another round of indian vaporware to me. Lots of noise and press for a proyect and then they fail to deliver.

Re:Indian Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43305679)

Except, you know, the 17,000 of them that they -did- deliver.

Had some innovative features though... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43305581)

..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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