$35 Tablet Aakash is not dead. Govt is planning a tender for 5.7 mn devices: Datawind CEO

Aakash 3The Aakash tablet, which was declared dead a few days ago, may not be dead after all.

“It is the media reading in grammar and interpreting things that aren’t said. The ministry is in the process of launching a 5.7 million unit tender…does that indicate that they have lost interest,” asked Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind which won the initial tender to supply the tablets.

On a television program on Wednesday, Tuli said that the delay in shipping the devices was due to slow process of obtaining customs clearance.

Earlier last week, Human Resources Development Minister Pallam Raju told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conferences that one must not “get obsessed about the hardware”. Following the statement, a series of news reports declared the project dead because the ministry seemed to have lost interest in it. Just a day later, the minister clarified saying that the the fourth version is being worked upon and that its a “fantastic” initiative.

“What the minister was saying that hardware wasn’t the only aspect. He was talking about the whole ecosystem,” Mr Tuli said. “Customs and other issues delayed the shipment…took us a few more days because customs took time,” added Tuli about the delay in shipping the tablets.

The company said that it has delivered 42,000 units already and by Tuesday a total of 65,000 units out of 100,000 units ordered  by the government will be delivered.

“We delivered 5 lakh units to the consumer,” said Mr Tuli.

Meanwhile, The Hindu reports that cabinet minister Kapil Sibal who originally started the project while at the ministry of human resources is making a case to distribute Aakash tablets to government employees as well. “If I know that the world is moving towards iPads, why would I train people in computers? In any case a computer costs Rs 20,000, while a tablet costs only Rs 4,000. Make Aakash the platform and hand over it to every employee,” the report quoted former Human Resources Development minister as saying.

Our Review

Our resident gadget guy is working the Ubislate 7c+ (same as Aakash 3) hard for a review which should be out in a few hours. First reaction: The resolution is pathetic!

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