World's cheapest tablet Aakash 2 was set to be showcased at the United Nations on Nov 2. The tablet was proclaimed to showoff the nation's competitive technological advancement. However, reports regarding the tablet being a Chinese product might put India in a bad light at the UN event.
Documents available with the Economic Times revealed that Datawind Company has procured the first 12,000 tablets of A13 model designed by AllWinner Tech of China. The supplier was approved by IIT-Bombay, the co-developer of Aakash 2.
Datawind began selling the tablet with their logo on Aakash 2 to the Government for ₹2, 263. In turn, the government sold the tablet to students for a subsidised price of ₹1,130.
"For the first 10,000 units (of Aakash2) for IIT, and for expediency sake we had the motherboards and kits manufactured in our Chinese subcontractor's facilities, and then the units have been 'kitted' in China at various manufacturers for expediency," said Suneet Singh Tuli, Datawind CEO.
He further revealed that the tablet's capacitive screen was manufactured in the company's Montreal facility and the final assembling of parts was done in China.
Datawind's strained relation with the Indian manufacturing partner VMC Systems about the non-payment of dues is cited as the reasons for the tablet company to import devices from China.
Datawind's first Aakash tablet was developed in association with IIT-Rajasthan and it was manufactured in its Hyderabad facility.
Aakash 1 tablet was launched last year with much fanfare, but the tablet was heavily panned by tech gurus. The tablet fared badly for its low memory space, unresponsive resistive touchscreen, poor display resolution and a weak battery.