Datawind’s $35 tablet delayed over quality dispute

According to a report published in the Indian financial daily, The Economic Times, it seems that the wait for the world’s cheapest tablet Aakash is likely to get even longer.

The delay is due to a tussle between the tablet’s Canada-based vendor Datawind and the Indian engineering institute, IIT-Rajasthan.

The paper reported that the state colleges are yet to get the Aakash tablet even a year after the tender was floated, due to disputes on specifications, payments and quality of tablets between IIT-Rajasthan and its vendor, Datawind.

The report claimed that the letter of credit (LoC) for Aakash issued by IIT-Rajasthan to Datawind in its extension has expired and both parties have not been able to reach a conclusion on the tablet features. This has put a question mark on any further supply of Aakash tablets.

Also, IIT-Rajasthan has rejected 3,000 units of Aakash on slow performance and bad screen panels. The institute has not yet accepted ‘in writing’ the 10,000 tablets supplied to it, as the acceptance would mean release of payment, the report said.

IIT-Rajasthan wants shockproof and rainproof specs for Aakash, which Datawind says is ‘not possible’ in the $35 price point, the report said.

The government of India has cited the dispute as purely commercial between both parties.

The government is reportedly preparing a new tender to invite more vendors to produce an improved version of the tablet, ‘Aakash 2’. According to the newspaper’s sources, the new specifications include a capacitive touch and a 1 Ghz processor.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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