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"Aakash Makers Lacked Experience For Tablet Business"
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"Aakash Makers Lacked Experience For Tablet Business"  
In a candid conversation with EFYTimes.com, Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax, spoke about the emerging segment of tablets in education sector, his business plans and what went wrong with Aakash. Have a dekko:   
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Wednesday, April 04, 2012 The low-cost tablet market segment is getting heated up in India as more and more players are entering the market. And these tablets are not only meant for commercial use but the tablet makers have started targeting the education segment too. Micromax has launched its tablet FunBook at an attractive price of Rs 6,499 for Indian students and this was a day after HCL launched My EduTab at Rs 9,999. Both the devices run Google's latest Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich.

Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax, spoke to EFYTimes.com about the emerging segment of tablets in education sector, his business plans and what went wrong with Aakash. Excerpts:

Aakash, Micromax, Micromax tablet, Micromax FunBook, Android, Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, Rahul sharma, HCL, HCL ME U1 tablet, HCL MyEduTab, Tablets for education, Low cost tablets in India, Top Android tablets in India, Android tablets in India, Tablet market in India

HCL has launched an educational tablet recently. Aakash and ClassPad are already there. How do you see the competition in the educational tablet segment?

Till now there is no competition in the Indian educational tablet market. This industry is still in its nascent stage. There is no success story so far, which means that people are yet to realise the true potential of this segment. We at Micromax, have real strong product proposition. We are confident that with FunBook, we will be able to crack the market.

How easy or difficult was it for Micromax to enter the tablet market?

We have been working on this device for an year. Creating the biggest exchange of education system in a country like India is not an easy job because there are many different streams of education. You have CBSE, ICSE, state boards, etc. Collecting all the material and database wasn't easy but we are glad we achieved our target and the finished product has arrived. People can now use the device to enhance their knowledge and can realise their dreams.

Do you plan to export the device as well?

As of now, we are in the Indian market. We are already operational in nine other countries. The content would be different for all of them, so we need to work on that first before we enter any market. We are currently working on the content. As soon as we will be ready for that, we will start exporting the tablet to other nations as well.

Central government is planning to issue a fresh tender on Aakash, which will be for Aakash 2 actually. The new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh also has plans to distribute tablet devices to the students of the state. Would you want to be a part of any of those tenders?

I am not too sure about this at the moment. But I am sure our product is impressive and will be able to create a very strong proposition for the market. As far as our strategy goes, we would first want to target the customers directly. We may want to explore other options later, but not now, till the product is established among the customers.

Do you think the entire tablet for education business has been hyped by the launch of Aakash tablet?

No, I don't think so. I have not seen Aakash revolutionising the education segment as such. Yes, the device was hyped because of its price point but when you look at the adoption of technology, it did not do wonders. I think what lacked in Aakash was the experience for the business. You have to have experience for markets like India and projects like Aakash.

How will the evolution of technology in education help students?

I think this kind of technology in education will help in making the fundamentals become stronger. For example- if you talk about the process of evaporation, student can have 3D videos to understand the concept, which will make learning easy, fast and a lot fun.

By when will the Micromax Funbook tablet be made available in the market?

The tablet will be available online within a week.

Debashis Sarkar, EFYTIMES News Network

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