India's ambitious ultra low-cost Aakash tablet PC is no stranger to controversies. Despite the efforts from the government and DataWind to make the project successful, spate of controversies and negative publicity have continued to chase the device. The recent controversy was about the parts of the Aakash 2 allegedly being sourced from China.
Economic Times in one of its reports claimed DataWind, the company assigned to design, develop and manufacture the Aakash tablet, procured about 12,000 devices A-13 model designed by AllWinner Tech of China. The supplier was finalised by IIT-Bombay, which is also implementing the Aakash project. The report claimed the procurement took place shortly before the Aakash 2 was officially launched.
However, DataWind rejected the report, saying: "For the first 10,000 units for IIT, and for expediency sake we had the motherboards manufactured in one of our Chinese subcontractor’s facilities. And then the units have been ‘kitted’ in China at various manufacturers for expediency, whereas the final assembly and programming has happened in India. We finished this batch of 10,000 units and delivered them to IIT and will be starting another batch of 20,000 units for them in two weeks."
The Made in China allegations, however, created a lot of buzz with several jingoistic fans lashing out at DataWind. The company responded to the criticism, saying that China is in fact the global manufacturing hub and companies such as Apple use China-based OEMs for their products. Read Aakash 2 being made in China a non-issue; so is the iPad
In our previous weekly poll, we sought your opinions on the Aakash having Made in China tag. We asked you, 'Does the Aakash 2's 'Made in China' tag matter to you?'
We received a total of 1,721 responses to our question. A majority of 798 votes, about 63 percent, were for 'Yes, the Aakash 2 was supposed to be made in India'. Only 473 readers, or roughly 27 percent, said 'No, it doesn't matter where it was manufactured (as long as it's usable)'.
The poll results clearly show Indians want the Aakash to be a true 'Made in India' device. It's notable Kapil Sibal has said the next tender for the tablet will make it mandatory for vendors to have local manufacturing unit, making the device more affordable. Read Aakash 2 tablet to cost $35 with Indian manufacturing.
Check out the results in graphical form below, and see previous ThinkDigit Weekly Poll results, here. Do also answer our new poll, where we ask you “With Facebook Messenger for Android now offering WhatsApp-like functionality, which will you use?”.