Building a cheap Windows 8.1 tabet for Sri Lankan Professionals and Students

My cousin Mufees is a well known PC and Mobile repairer in Akkaraiapattu region, people for Pottuwil to Kalmunai comes to his ITDOTCOM to repair their broken mobiles, to low format their HDDs. Recently repairing smartphones, give support to smartphone app installations, setup smartphone settings give him more money as many friends of him are professionals and they are not quite comfortable with Android’s and iOS’s settings. They badly need a Windows thing in their hands but these questions make them not using such Windows handheld device

  • Most people use Android and iOS, even most blog posts and ads suggest them. No blogs care about Windows isnt it?
  • Android is buggy, full of virus, not secure and not stable, but where to find a Windows tablet, is that exist?
  • Are Windows tablets and Windows Phones cheap?
  • People say, Windows does not have quite good amount of apps, is it true?

I am damn sure many Professionals and Students are moving to Windows 8 based PCs, they are very aware of pirated Windows now and buy Windows 8/8.1 OEM Laptops from Middle east countries for cheap prices in December and Ramadhan offer markets. Even if they need to clean format their Windows, they ask us to get their OEM Windows key first, then perform formatting and put the key again for their laptops.

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These days Microsoft is rolling out many updates and patches for Windows and people love them, instead of hate them while they were using pirated windows.

Req Analysis & Specification

But for some professionals,

  1. They need a tablet to carry in their hands instead of carrying laptop in solders.
  2. They need a tablet, not a laptop to teach their children ABC, drawing and other skills.
  3. They need a touch friendly display to use, they need a device with front and back cam.
  4. They need a 7″ or 9″ display sized thing.
  5. They cant spend more then LKR 10,000 for a device for their 5 year child to play games and can’t spend morethen LKR 30,000 to a device which they use in work place.

Still they need

  1. Something easier to setup.
  2. Something more secure.
  3. Something drop proof, coz children does not handled them in a good manner.
  4. Something with a “Refresh this fu***** device” option in case of his/her child mis-configure the device settings.
  5. Something with a fancy interface and sooooo awesome livetiles which updates them everytime.
  6. Simply something robust.

Answer for the Req

The answer was given in /Build// 2014.

2014-04-01_23-04-48.0_standard_640.0

When Microsoft announced this one the world went crazy. And big names like Toshiba use the chance very well. They sell a 8″ Windows 8.1 tablet for USD 199 only. But still this price is not affordable by all Sri Lankans, by 13th June USD 199 is equal to LKR 25920.74 (get the rate of the day here). Most professionals will like this tablet but unfortunately this is not available in Sri Lanka.

Why can’t we build our own.

Microsoft Sri Lanka has partnership with eWis, who has a PC manufacturing plant in Hambantota. eWis is manufacturing decent PCs. So what if eWis Sri Lanka manufacture a Windows 8 tablet with the below rough specs

Network – 2G & HSDPA

Display – 7″ with TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

Audio – 3.5 mm jack

Memory – 16GB internal storage with 1GB RAM and support for microSD, up to 32 GB

Connectivity – WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, microUSB v2.0

Camera – 5MP Primary cam with 720p video and Secondary VGA cam

Chipset – Mediatek MT6575

CPU – 1 GHz Cortex-A9

GPU – PowerVR SGX531

Sensors – Accelerometer, proximity

Battery -Li-Ion 3550 mAh battery

This can be manufactored for lower price then the Toshiba’s tablet and can be used by students even. A 9″ tablet with same specs and keyboard support is also a powerful option. But we don’t need to pay for Windows, its free.

This is WinRT right, we need to access some desktop applications.

Microsoft Sri Lanka can consider to give a free (or paid) VM with 100GB HDD and 2GB RAM for the consumers of the tablet. Azure will ease the job for them. So users can connect to the VM with Remote desktop app. A consumner might ask Microsoft to increase the ammount of given storage or RAM for some money in case to use big applications. For example, to use Autocad in the VM an Engineer or Architect needs about 4GB RAM and he can pay some extra money for this.

Pricing and other numbers.

Pricing matters, pricing matters a lot with other numbers including no. of pieces to manufacture. A good advertising strategy will increase the sales. Even we can export this tablet to SAARC and African countries. This report from Times of India says “ Sales of tablets shot up from just 3.6 lakh units in 2011-12 to over 19 lakh in the last fiscal(remember this post was made in mid 2013), a jump of over 400%, even as desktop PC sales grew by just 1%” in India.

On June 17, 2014 I had a chat with Chinese Android Tablets manufacturer named “Pin Shun Xin“. After I send my above specs to them they have send me their Quotation for all Tablets they manufacture. They didn’t build an Android tablet with same specs I have mention but they are manufacturing a tablet with below details and they sell it for USD 113.7 per piece (on requirement of 500+tablets) and USD 113 per piece (on requirement of 500+tablets). Roughly LKR 15000. But on a mass production (say in Millions) we can reduce this price to USD 100. Their specs are

●Display:7 inch capacitive touch screen, 5-point touch
●CPU: Allwinner A20
●Memory/Storage: 1G/8G
●LCD:1280*800    IPS
●Bluetooth & wifi 802.11b/g/n
●Built-in 3G/2G
●Battery: 3000mAh
●Open hole 3D
●Camera: Front 0.3 MP rear 2.0MP
●I/O Ports:1xMicro USB/1xSIM/1xTFcardreader/3.5mm stereo headphone jack /1xDC-IN /1XHDMI

And they have another type of Tablet PC, almost comparable to my specs but it cost just USD 57 per piece (on requirement of 500). But it has 512MB/4GB Memory/Storage ratio but on request we can get 1G/8G as well (10 RMB is roughly equal to 1.6 USD).  Specs of that tablet are

●Display:7 inch 1024*600 (800*480 OPTION/IPS screen optional add 30RMB)
capacitive touch screen, 5-point touch
●CPU: MTK8382   1.3GHz, Quad-core Cortex-A7
●Memory/Storage: 512MB/4GB(1G/8G  optional)
●wifi 802.11b/g/n
●Built-in 3G/2G/GPS/BT
●ISDB-T optional(add 30RMB)
●Battery: 2800mAh
●Camera: Front 0.3 MP rear2.0MP (5.0MP optional add 25RMB)
●I/O Ports:1xMicro USB/2xSIM/1xTFcardreader/3.5mm stereo headphone jack

For the above if we add 1GB/16GB instead of 512MB/4GB,  and 5MP cam, as per my knowledge we can produce the tablet for roughly USD 100.

Conclusion

This is possible, very possible if both Microsoft Sri Lanka and eWis put some serious efforts. They can study more on the requirements and solutions to make this deal better. Good marketing gives good money. Even most people are not aware of eWis laptops for now, but good marking strategies Microsoft Sri Lanka will become an example for Microsoft offices in other countries as well. AND MAKE AN AFFORDABLE WINDOWS TABLET FOR EVEN ORDINARY PEOPLE FROM RURAL AREAS.

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8 thoughts on “Building a cheap Windows 8.1 tabet for Sri Lankan Professionals and Students

  1. Great idea man. It is possible. But the thing is is the E-wis manufacturing plant has the possibility to get such kind of task? As I know they only assemble PCs still.

      1. I don’t know, but I think this will be a good investment. I have already told this to Imran Vilcassim, he pointed Wela is the person and whatsup to Wela, but yet to get a reply from Wela.

      2. Seems like he is but busy these days. If wanna any help will be there with you. Because I too passionate with this idea 🙂

  2. Sure man, this is just an idea from me and the final dicesion is upto them Microsoft #lk and eWis people. I personally wanted them to build this but if some other company would like to use this, I let them use.

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