It looks like the Indian government has taken the criticisms of its low-cost Aakash tablet PC very seriously, and wants to ensure the improved Aakash meets everyone's expectations. The government has now decided that the Department of Information Technology will handle the tendering process of the next generation of the Aakash tablet. The decision comes in view of the ongoing standoff between IIT Rajasthan and DataWind over the issue of better specifications in Aakash tablet. The government had entrusted IIT for the development and procurement of the Aakash tablet. The Department of IT falls under the Ministry of Communications and IT, headed by Kapil Sibal who also holds HRD portfolio.
The HRD ministry has already said that it aims to procure additional 22 core Aakash tablets in near future and to manufacture in such large volume, fresh tenders will be floated by the government. However, this does not mean that DataWind is out of the question. According to reports, the letter of credit to DataWind has been extended till March. If reports are to be believed, the vendor will be rolling out the next tranche of the 'improved' Aakash tablets. It may be recalled that the government wasn't willing to extend the LC after DataWind allegedly breached the contract by selling the Aakash tablet in the retail market before supplying to the government.
The Indian government is planning to launch an improved version of the Aakash tablet, currently dubbed as the Aakash 2, in April this year. The Aakash 2 tablet is likely to have better specifications than the original Aakash. The government aims to keep the Aakash 2 pricing unchanged. DataWind, however, has already come up with its improved Aakash tablet, UbiSlate 7 . DataWind's UbiSlate 7 is already sold out till February.
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