Makers of the world’s cheapest tablet Aakash 2, British company Datawind, has denied reports that surfaced in Indian media calling its latest innovation something that’s been bought off the shelf from China. Hindustan Times recently published a news report where an unnamed source alleged that Datawind had no role in the design or manufacture of the Aakash 2.
According to this article, Datawind apparently purchased over 10,000 ‘A-13’ tablets from four manufacturers located in Shenzhen and Hong Kong between October 26 and November 7 for $42 per unit, and charged the Indian government the same amount for these devices. HT named certain documents as sources which show how the tablets were procured from these four firms – Dasen International Electronics, Shenzhen Shitong Zhaoli Technology, Kalong Technology and Trend Grace Ltd.
Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli has countered in EE Times Asia that this report is “inaccurate and misleading”. According to Tuli, for expediting the order for the first 10,000 units for use at Indian Institute of Technology, motherboards and kits were manufactured by Chinese subcontractors, and then kitted in China as well. However, the final assembly and programming of these devices took place in India.
Datawind also has four partner manufacturers in India that will start working on the assembly and delivery of Aakash 2 to the government starting in December. The company remains hopeful that these tablets will be better received than the earlier offering, the Aakash. The Government of India has ordered for 100,000 units of the Aakash 2 to empower students and make education a more interactive and digital experience.