Where is Aakash 2, the low cost tablet, made? Perhaps immaterial, but its a question many have been asking over the last few weeks.
While the government tries to tout this as an Indian innovation, for most parts, the tablet is made outside India.
Where the tablet is designed and manufactured is not really much of an issue as long as it serves the purpose, according to some. However, if generation of intellectual property was part of the purpose, it becomes an important question to ask, others contend.
Datawind, the company which is making these low cost tablets for the Indian government has come out with an infographic which talks about where the tablet is made.
According to the company, while the tablet is conceived, assembled and programmed in India, its motherboard is made in China, Touchscreen in Canada, components are secured globally and its designed and developed in Canada.
By 2013, the company wants to shift manufacturing and motherboard kitting from Canada and China to India. The Indian government wants to give away these tablets nearly millions of students in the country to help them learn.
India showcased the tablet at the United States as an Indian innovation which will transform education in the country. Datawind won an order from the Indian government to supply 100,000 Aakash tablets for under $50 a piece in 2010. The project ran into controversy and a short while later, a newer version of the tablet was announced. The Aakaash 2 was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on November 11 and will be supplied to students at a subsidized price of $20 (approx), the government announced.
There has been much criticism of the project. Datawind has had to field questions that range from poor quality of customer services, delay in shipping to battery life which may not be adequate for a whole school day.