Making of Aakash: The World's Cheapest Tablet|Project Management|Case Study|Case Studies

Making of Aakash: The World's Cheapest Tablet

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Case Details:

Case Code : PROM012
Case Length : 17 pages
Period : 2006-2012
Organization : Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India, Datawind Limited
Pub Date : 2012
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : Tablet

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"The Aakash is a ray of hope that India can leverage technology to get more of its 220 million students enough tools to escape poverty and poor teaching, but it’s also a challenge to the West." 1

- Thomas L. Friedman, November 2011

"Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and Internet access. Working with IIT Rajasthan, and NME-ICT, we have created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and Internet access to the masses." 2

- Suneet Singh Tuli (Tuli), President & CEO, Datawind Ltd., November 2011

"It will be a cool gadget that pushes boundaries in computing, and leaves education as moribund as before...While I agree that Suneet Singh Tuli's business plan of selling tablets directly to consumers based on clear market advantages is more sound than Nicholas Negroponte's idea of selling millions of laptop to governments based on a handshake with presidents, I do not see a better education plan. In fact, I see none." 3

- Wayan Vota, Senior Director, Inveneo, December 2011

On October 5, 2011, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Government of India, launched the much awaited ultra low cost tablet 'Aakash'. The Made in India Aakash tablet would be available in the retail market at a fraction of the price of Apple's iPad, the popular tablet from Apple Inc.4 The Government of India was buying this device from Datawind Limited5 (Datawind) for US$ 50 and providing it to students at a subsidized price of US$ 35. The tablet was also to be made available at retail stores with some extra features at a maximum price of US$ 60. On the successful launch of the Aakash tablet,-

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Kapil Sibal (Sibal), Telecom and Human Resource Development Minister, Government of India, said, "The rich have access to the digital world, the poor and ordinary have been excluded. Aakash will end that digital divide."6

An industry observer noted that the launch of a low cost tablet was very important, especially in a country like India where there was a lack of proper education at all the levels and poverty was rampant. Kit Eaton7 wrote in his article published at FastCompany.com8, "It's of course admirable that the Indian government and technology companies wanted to develop their own low-cost educational machine. After all, this is a country that has orbital satellite launching capability where simultaneously 85% of the population was living on less than US$ 2.50 per day (in 2005 at least.) And trying to improve the education of so many impoverished children is a wonderful goal."9

Some industry observers were rather skeptical about Aakash's capability to transform education in India. Satish Jha (Jha), President and CEO, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)10, India project wrote in his article published in Economics Times11 , "It is unlikely Aakash will address the key demands of India's education. It is designed to be an access device that can be used by someone already educated enough to use it. But 95% children of India need to get to a point where they can begin learning."12

Introduction cont.. - Next Page>>

1] Thomas L. Friedman, "The Last Person,", November 12, 2011.
2] Pragya Gupta, "Way to Digi-Literate India?,", November 2011.
3] Wayan Vota, "The $35 Aakash Tablet will Fail Education Just Like the $100 OLPC Laptop Did,", December 8, 2011.
4] The US-based Apple Inc. is one of the biggest companies in the technology (in hardware and computer) industry and one of the most reputed.
5] Datawind Limited is a London-based developer of wireless web access products and services
6] Frank Jack Daniel, "India Launches World's Cheapest Tablet Aakash,", October 5, 2011.
7] Kit Eaton is a writer at
8] is one of the leading progressive media brands.
9] Kit Eaton, "Why India's $10 Laptop is a Load of Hype,", February 4, 2009.
10] One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is a non-profit project to provide low cost laptops to children of developing nations.
11] The Economics Times is one of the leading newspapers in India.
12] Satish Jha, "Aakash may not be Able to Address Demands of Indian Education,", January 24, 2012.

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