India’s ambitious dream of imparting quality education to the have-nots at low costs has reportedly hit a roadblock, yet again; just when the upgraded, ICS-enabled tablet was scheduled to launch in the country. A report in LiveMint has indicated that cracks have developed in the cordial relationship that Canadian manufacturer, Datawind and their Hyderabad-based, assembly partner, Quad Electronics Solutions Pvt. Ltd. once shared. In fact, if reports are to be believed then both Datawind and Quad Electronics have put an end to their association and have sent legal notices to each other.

Trying to merge education and IT

Hits a roadblock, again!

Reportedly, Quad Electronics has been claiming that it hasn’t received its payment from Datawind. Quoting a Quad executive, the report states, “They did not pay us and we have already served them a legal notice. They (DataWind) couldn’t work with the government, did not respect our contract, and are not even standing by their promises to the consumers.” Datawind, on the other hand claim that Quad Electronics had infringed on their intellectual property rights and allegedly also signed a separate memorandum of understanding (MoU) directly with IIT-Rajasthan, the institute responsible for procuring the tablets; incidentally, Datawind had a fall out with IIT-Rajasthan, too, over the production of the tablets, and subsequent delays. 

Only recently did Datawind also put the blame of the failure of the Aakash tablet on IIT-Rajasthan. Quoting Suneet Singh Tuli, chief executive of DataWind, the report states, “DataWind’s relationship with Quad ended because Quad circumvented DataWind’s relationship with IIT-Rajasthan and signed a separate MoU (memorandum of understanding) directly with IIT-Rajasthan. The two of them collaborated to try and create an Aakash-2 competitor, but were unsuccessful.” Quad Electronics, reportedly managed to assemble 20,000 tablets, but stopped their delivery after 10,000 tablets. 

Needless to add, amidst all the confusion, consumers have been left just with assurance of receiving their ordered units. Production glitches, less than satisfying product quality, internal fights, delays, have been some of the vices marring the success of India’s low-cost computing ambitions. Numerous forums online stand testimony to the fact that consumers are slowly losing hope in the low-cost computing dream, while others are still waiting to receive their unit of the tablet.

The report, while quoting Tuli also added that the Datawind would “provide an update on the number of pre-bookings, units delivered and schedule to clear the backlog at our launch event, planned for the third week of this month”.

Even as you’re reading this, an upgraded version of the Aakash tablet is assuredly underway and has taken on more responsibility, after reports claiming that the low-cost tablet would be ICS-enabled surfaced. One can only hope that the upgraded version of the tablet sees the light of the day and gets to show what it has on offer. 

To know all about the Aakash tablet, click here

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