DataWind announces completion of the Aakash project

By Kul Bhushan | Published 02 May 2013 09:53 IST
  • With DataWind confirming the completion of the project, the Indian government's ambitious ultra low-cost Aakash tablet may reach the masses pretty soon.

DataWind announces completion of the Aakash project
DataWind announces completion of the Aakash project

DataWind has announced completion of 100,000 Aakash low-cost computing access devices for IIT-Bombay (under the Indian Government’s Ministry of Human Resources Development’s National Mission for Education through Information Communication Technology).

DataWind in a detailed press release reveals as many as 74,700 units have been delivered to and accepted by C-DAC, Noida and IIT-Bombay. 25,300 units are with Transporter in Noida awaiting processing of Letter of Credit documentation by IIT-Bombay. The 25,300 unit final shipments will be released by State Bank of India (IIT-Bombay’s bank) upon endorsement of the delivery order, as per the Letter of Credit requirement established by IIT-Bombay.

In addition to the completion of 100,000 units of the Aakash, the company has also announced clearing its pre-paid backlog for the tablet. According to DataWind, less than 1 percent of pre-paid backlog customers is pending, which it says is due to lack of courier coverage or contact information.

DataWind further reveals it won the tender for the supply of Aakash 1 devices at $49.98, was subsequently modified to 98,000 Aakash 2 devices and 2,000 devices with DataWind’s recommendations for Aakash 3, all at a price of Rs.2,263 (currently $41.61).

The company has delivered the Aakash units to IIT-Bombay with 12 months warranty and accessories at only Rs. 2,263. The Aakash 2, commercially available as the UbiSlate 7Ci, comes with Cortex A8 – 1Ghz processor, 512MB of RAM,4GB flash memory,Wi-Fi, support for external 3G and EVDO dongles. The tablet runs Android 4.0 ICS and features VGA camera, G-sensor, internal microphone, speakers and headphone jack.

DataWind has also revealed the recommended specifications for the Aakash 3 – quad-band Edge modem that allows cellular voice and data functionality. DataWind has delivered 2,000 units to IIT-Bombay with these specifications, as part of the 100,000 unit project. Commercially this device is sold as the UbiSlate 7C .

After the completion of the Aakash 2 project, the company is now readying for the next tender of the Aakash tablets (also dubbed as the Aakash 4).

The completion of the Aakash project is certainly good news for millions of enthusiasts as well as the government that aims to bridge the digital divide in the country with tablet. The completion, however, has seen a long delay with a spate of controversies hampering the project.

The tablet was also criticised for being 'Made in China'. “Since there was no requirement under the tender or contract for the product to be manufactured in India, where it is made is not a controversy. Although there was a significant push from numerous sectors to have it all made outside of India, DataWind has persevered and helped establish four facilities that started manufacturing for it in India,” DataWind clarifies in its latest press release.

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