China-based Lenovo seems interested in participating in the $41 Aakash tablet project. However, the company expressed their concern over the quality of the tablet. Lenovo said that providing “a great user experience at the proposed price of Rs 2,276” would be an uphill task. “We are aware of the project and looking at that proposition. We don’t disclose about tenders we are participating. In my personal view, it’s very challenging to produce a tablet at that price, which can carry a great customer experience,” said Keith Liu, business development director for mobile Internet digital home division, Asia Pacific & Latin America, Lenovo in an ET report.
“As a person who studies the tablet market closely, I can say that the bill of materials will be high if you want to produce a quality tablet. At that (proposed) price, you may have to make the tablet limited in certain ways and functions,” Liu added in the report. The Aakash tablet project was initiated by Ministry of Human Resource and Development. IIT Bombay is now testing Aakash tablets, which are being assembled in Hyderabad. IIT Bombay has proposed to improve the existing model with a 1 GHz processor instead of 800 MHz processor along with upgrading the operating system from Android 2.2 Froyo to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich at the original price of Rs 2276.
Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and HCL all looked keen in participating in the tender, but the low cost of just Rs 2,276 has been a huge deterrent. Even, home grown Micromax feels that launching a quality tablet at such a low price is very challenging. “Besides cost, repair of a tablet currently is a large percentage of the actual price. Servicing the tablets can cause the margins to easily dip into negative territory,” Liu further added in the report.