While the first batch of the Aakash tablet failed to impress the masses, news was rife that Datawind, the makers of Aakash may lose their Letter of Credit. While there was some disagreement between the HRD ministry, Datawind and IIT Rajasthan, there were several other potential bidders for the next generation Aakash. HCL had also expressed its desire to bid for the newer Aakash, said reports. According to The Economic Times, HCL Infosystems has finally confirmed that it will be participating in the bidding of the Aakash 2 tablet, which is the upgraded version of the Aakash at a ‘feasible’ price. “The tender is yet to come out with the specifications… But if it comes to prices which are not feasible, we will exit graciously,” stated HCL Infosystems Executive VP and Head (Mobility) Gautam Advani. The bidding for the next generation Aakash will begin later this year, but there is no word on the exact date or the number of tablets to be manufactured.
Aakash..only at feasible price
Just a couple of days back, HCL launched the new U1 and MyEdu tablets in the Indian market. The HCL UI is the affordable Android ICS tablet priced at Rs.7,999. This 7-inch tablet is powered by a 1GHz processor and has 4GB of internal memory expandable up to 32GB.
“Within five months, we have an exit market share of 15 per cent…With this device, we expect to continue to keep our market share steady in the competitive tablet PC segment in India,” Advani said, adding that the tablet market in India is expected to grow to over two million units next year from 350,000 units in 2011 and one million units in 2012. Reportedly, the company will start exporting the U1 to nations in the Middle East, Africa and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, such as UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar by July.
Needless to say, Datawind won the first bid for the Aakash, and soon followed it with the UbiSlate 7 tablets from the company. The Aakash tablets were supplied to students at a subsidized price of Rs.1,500. However, with the reported inefficient functioning of the tablet, the future of the Aakash seemed to be doomed. With the second round of bidding all set to take place, all we can hope is the upgraded version is usable, if not advanced.