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Datawind might lose contract of Aakash 2

DataWind might be losing the contract for the cheapest tablet for the second phase, as the Indian government seems to be preparing for inviting manufacturers to bid

Last year it came to our knowledge that Indian government with a Canadian based company called DataWind had created the cheapest tablet ‘the Aakash’  which was later offered at only about $50 and was even sold to students for only $35.

But it seems that the cheapest tablet run into some problems and more companies will be invited to place bid to make devices for the Indian Government. The Aakash tablet had complaints of poor performance as the processor was too slow, the battery was of very short life and the resistive touch screen was really hard to use.

Aakash tablet was mainly designed by the Government of India mainly to bring an end to the digital divide in the country. Only one out of every 10 persons out of 1.2 billion peoples use internet in India. Owning a product such as an iPad is beyond the reach of many, in the fast-growing middle class.

The Governments Human Resource Development Ministry is to launch a new tender in the next few weeks for new partners to build the tablet. This process might also mean that DataWind could have been dropped from the business, but no such detail has been released officially.

Earlier Datawind had a contract of 100,000 units from the government and it was through that they were also planning for another 1million in the second phase. The company also said that the institute had changed the specifications late last year and with the same rock bottom price now they want a device that could meet US military durability requirements.

Apart from that DataWind also mentioned that they are receiving about tens of thousands of orders daily for their commercial version of the tablet. This model with GPRS modem is due to be launched for about $61.


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2012-02-24 (Update: 2012-05-26)