The manufacturer of Akash, the world's cheapest tablet computing device priced at Rs.2,250, DataWind Wednesday said it plans to launch the tablet's commercial variant in the country by November-end.
"We plan to launch the commercial variant of the device somewhere in late-November," Suneet Singh Tuli, chief executive of DataWind, told IANS on the sidelines of the tablet launch for students by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal.
According to Tuli, the price of the commercial variant would be higher than that of the students' version, but did not divulge any details.
"It would be a bit higher, but very competitive to anything that is available around the world," Tuli said.
The company expects to have a customer base of nearly 100,000 customers per month for the commercial variant of the tablet.
"I am hoping for nearly 100,000 customers per month for my tab which may be priced around Rs.2,500-3,000."
Tuli further said the company's manufacturing facility capacity in Hyderabad would be increased from the current 700 units per day to nearly 100,000 units per month.
"We have to eventually increase the capacity to 100,000 units in the coming time to meet the demand."
The company was also scouting for an alternative manufacturing site to increase production.
"Our basic plan is to provide the 'tab' to the Indian market first, but the demand is so high that we need to develop a new facility altogether and we are scouting for a location."
Replying to the enormous export potential estimates which were given by Sibal, who said the product was not just for 220 million Indian students but also for the rest of the world, Tuli said: "No doubt it's a great product. But our first priority is to provide it in India and then the rest of the world."
Further, the company expressed its hopes for a new tab with a price tag of about $10, with the help of more local components.
"We need to have more local components. And with the production expansion that we plan, we believe that Indian component manufacturers would soon see the opportunity, thus reducing our prices."
Currently, the tab uses around 35 percent component from South Korea, 25 percent from China, 16 from the US, 16 from India and rest from around the world.
Meanwhile, senior company officials told IANS that the base version of the device for students will come in partnership with telecommunication service provider Aircel which would provide SIM cards which can then be used for accessing the internet through the 3G network.
"We have tied-up with Aircel for the product. They will provide the network to access the 3G-internet service."