The Aakash tablet was launched amidst a lot of fanfare with some touting it as the game changer, while some worried that it may fall trap to the demand – supply problem that a lot of electronics in the country have been facing. Now, a few glaring statistics have come out. It has been reported that a mere 366 units of the Aakash tablet have actually reached students and six months have passed by since its launch. The students had received the Aakash tablets on the 5th of October last year for testing and feedback purposes. IIT Rajasthan had procured a total lot of 6,440 tablets that Datawind had supplied them and this number of 366 tablets was a part of that lot. Only 650 units of the total number had been accepted. According to Kapil Sibal’s statement in the Parliament IIT Rajasthan had ‘rejected rest of the lots as the number of defective LCADs (Aakash tablets) in those lots exceeded the stipulated 5% of devices.”
When asked about distribution related issues, Kapil Sibal mentioned that the initial lot of tablets were just for testing purposes. He also went on to mention that, “The first phase of 1,00,000 tablets were targeted to the students in higher technical education institutions so as to further ascertain technical feedback on its operation and usability. Since these LCADs were for the purpose of testing, no norms for distribution of LCADs to students were laid down. Datawind is still to supply 1,00,000 LCADs of higher specifications at the same price. These higher specifications (which include 700 MHz Cortex A8 processor, 3200 mAh battery and capacitive touch screen) have been necessitated to overcome the initial difficulties observed in the devices. “
When asked about money recovery policies for the government he said that, “No payment has yet been made by IIT-Rajasthan to the vendor (Datawind), and hence, the question of getting back the money does not arise.” Datawind have been asked now to provide better quality tablets in the same price bracket.
Which brings us to the question, has politics and the blame game percolated and deeply cemented itself in the technology genre in our country? We definitely think so.
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