The Aakash may be one of the cheapest tablet in the market right now though unfortunately, far too many corners may have been compromised to keep the prices low. End result: early users of the tablet are an unhappy lot with a poor battery life being one major bone of contention apart from a poor build quality.
However, while this led many to believe Datawind — contractors of the first gen Aakash tablet — may be made the scapegoat and be prevented from bidding for the Aakash 2 version, HRD minister Kapil Sibal set the record straight by announcing that’s not how things stand right now.
“Existing vendor Datawind will have to supply the rest of the 100,000 tablets in its present contract. It can also bid for the next tender,” said Sibal while announcing there will be 5 million tablet devices that will be procured in the improved form. Aakash II boasts of a better 700 Mhz CPU and a capacitive touchscreen. The procurement price though has been kept the same as Aakash I (Rs. 2276) in spite of the enhanced specifications.
Reacting to the government’s move, Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind said, “This vindicates our point that Datawind continues to be a serious player in the supply of Aakash both for the present order of the Ministry of HRD and also future course.” He further added, “We never had any doubts about our position in the first place. With today’s announcement by the Ministry, the same has been cleared to all those who were speculating.”
So far, its just about 500 of the Aakash tablets that has been distributed by Datawind before differences between its manufacturing partner, IIT Rajasthan began to crop up. The latter wanted the Aakash to be waterproof devices that be strong enough to qualify for tough military specifications. Datawind though would take none of it citing a tablet to be used by the student community does not need to be of military grade. However, the sheer number of complaints about the tablet’s less than acceptable build quality did not do its maker any good though the good thing for Datawind is that all is not over for them yet.