Price of Aakash tablet to come down to $35 soon: Kapil Sibal

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Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal
SummaryThe next version of the tablet will also have Skype, says Kapil Sibal.

Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said the price of Aakash tablet will soon come down to $35 (about Rs 1,900 approximately) from $49 at present.

“Aakash is a tablet which at the moment costs $49. It will come down to $35 very soon. It has all the amenities of any modern tablet,” Sibal said at Reverse Buyer Seller Meet (RBSM) here organised by Telecom Equipment and Service Export Promotion Council.

The minister added that the next version of the tablet will also have Skype, an application used for making voice calls using Internet connection and does not necessarily require a SIM.

“It performs the same function as a $150 tablet,” Sibal said, adding that Aakash is kind of product that two-third population of world needs as they don't have enough resources to buy tablet costing $150.

Explaining on the way price of Aakash tablet drops, the minister said: “The capacitative (touch) screen is imported at a cost of $22 or around $20. The manufacturing cost is $2. If you were to set up that manufacturing unit in India, the cost will come down automatically from $49 to $29.”

He said that government is in process to get Cabinet approval for manufacturing of 50 lakh units of Aakash tablet in India and then float a global tender for its production in the country.

He said the production of Aakash tablet in large volumes will further drive down the cost.

In the last tender, each unit of Aakash tablet costed government Rs 2,263 and it announced 50 per cent subsidy on the tablet for students which finally costs Rs 1,130.

The minister said if Indian industry is able to provide a quality solution for citizen of the country then such solution or product will work anywhere in the world.

“In fact it will be game changer for the world...consumer in Europe, consumer in Japan, consumer in the United States of America would be looking for those solution because he will be getting the same solution at a much lower cost and a very high quality solution,” Sibal said.

The minister said government is giving enormous emphasis to research and development (R&D) for manufacturing of electronics product in the country that are of high quality and reasonably priced.

“We are going to create an R&D fund in which the government will contribute. We are setting up fab so that (electronic) chip manufacturing can be done India,” he said.

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