The launch of the world’s most affordable tablet, the Aakash 2 has been delayed, yet again. This bit of an update will come in as a disappointment to those who had pinned their hopes on it, ever since reports confirming a May-end launch first surfaced. The Economic Times reports that it was in March that Kapil Sibal announced that the Aakash 2 would be here by the end of May. The HRD minister who has been the force behind the nation’s ambitious project, had assured the public of the above stated timeline. Now well into June, and with no sign of the launch, the nation’s vast student community have been left without an answer. ET further reports that although their e-mail query to the minister's office on the current status of the Aakash 2 failed to elicit any response, officials working on the project revealed that the tablet units and the associated apps were being tested at IIT-Mumbai. So now as it stands, the launch of the Aakash 2 tablet has been delayed and at the moment, at least there is no timeline at hand.
The ET report also quoted a senior government official as saying, “Many people confuse Ubislate with Aakash, as it carries the same specifications and is made by the same vendor. It is giving a bad name to the government's project as customers of the commercial similar product are complaining of non delivery.” Reportedly, after its fall-out with Quad, Datawind got in Hyderabad-based VMC Systems to supply the tablets. “About 50 people have reportedly been poached by VMC Systems from Quad Electronics who were earlier working on the Aakash assembly line,” the report added. “VMC Systems vehemently denied it saying it employs about 800 people, and can redeploy them anytime. “We do not need to employ people from outside,” added the report stating VMC Systems' response.
Hit by delays..
Those following our reports covering the journey of one of the nation’s most ambitious projects would know that although the tablet caught the world’s attention for its 'affordability' tag, its journey so far has been far from smooth. Hopes with the new, upgraded version of the tablet are high.
Datawind were the makers of the initial version of the Aakash tablet, and along with IIT-Rajasthan, they took up the task of manufacturing the Aakash tablet in India for the masses. However, soon after, it began facing a lot of criticism, since several users who had begun using the tablets began complaining of the tablet's poor build quality, less than satisfactory battery, among other things. Soon after, altercations between Datawind and IIT-Rajasthan began over a set of specifications, which the latter wanted to incorporate on the tablet. IIT-Rajasthan wanted the Aakash tablet to be water-proof, and include a set of some more military-style specifications, something which Datawind did not agree to, since they believed a humble tablet, like Aakash didn't need military-styled specifications.
The nation's low-costing dream also took a hit when Datawind had a fall-out with their Hyderabad-based, assembly partner, Quad Electronics Solutions Pvt. Ltd. In the blame game that followed, Quad Electronics claimed they did not receive payment from Datawind. On the other hand, Datawind said that Quad Electronics had infringed on their intellectual property rights and allegedly also signed a separate memorandum of understanding (MoU) directly with IIT-Rajasthan.
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