Aakash tablet not a Chinese product clarifies Datawind

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

London-based wireless (prior Canada-based) Web access products maker, Datawind who won a tender from Indian government in 2010 to supply 100,000 low-cost computing devices to students has been whirled by yet another controversy that the Aakash tablet may be a Chinese product and not an Indian innovation. The company has refuted claims made by Hindustan Times. Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, DataWind said the report is 'misleading' and 'inaccurate'.


He insisted in a statement, ”We launched our low cost tablets in India a year ago which was and still is the lowest cost tablet in the world. These were built in India including all the circuit-boards in Hyderabad. This was based on a 360 MhzArm CPU. The next generation to that had an 800MHz Arm Cortex A8 CPU and all the boards were made in Hyderabad also. The primary difference between Aakash I and 2 is the Capacitive Touch Screen. This is the most expensive and important element and this product is manufactured in our Montreal facility (Videos are uploaded on Youtube: and ) which has been visited by representatives of IIT. This is one of the primary reasons why our devices are lower cost than others, as we use a proprietary technology. The Aakash2 uses the All winner A13 chip, which has become the standard among low cost tablets. The software and mechanical parts are developed by us and the motherboards utilize our approved designs based on A13 reference. The media are welcome to visit our Montreal facility where this is done and we are happy to disclose our designs on a confidential basis.”

Hindustan Times had reported on November 24, 2012, “Datawind may have procured these devices off-the-shelf from manufacturers in China for $42 (Rs. 2,263 then), exactly the price at which they sold these to the Indian government. DataWind bought more than 10,000 or more 'A 13' made-in-China tablets from at least four manufacturers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong between October 26 and November 7. These were shipped to India duty-free as they were meant for school students under an HRD ministry programme. DataWind had no role either in the design or manufacturing of Aakash 2 tablets. DataWind bought the tablets from at least four manufacturers, Dasen International Electronics, Shenzhen Shitong Zhaoli Technology, Kalong Technology and Trend Grace Ltd. DataWind's manufacturing partner in Hyderabad --- VMC Systems---had not built any device over the last couple of months. Its manufacturing partners and facilities in Delhi and Amritsar, respectively, too, had not produced even a single tablet over the last couple of months.

Suneet Singh Tuli further stated, “For the first 10k units 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, whereas the final assembly and programming has happened in India. This was well discussed and we got approval prior to shipping. The initial devices were assembled and programmed at our facilities in New Delhi and Amritsar. We finished this batch of 10k units and delivered them to IIT and will be starting another batch of 20k units for them in two weeks. The media are welcome to visit when we do this batch. We also have four partner manufacturers across India that will work on the deliveries to the government but we just couldn't get them started to assemble our new Aakash2 units in time but they will start to ship early in December.”

Suneet Tuli added, “Further to this, we're setting up our second touch screen facility in India, which is going through pilot right now. The full clean room facility will be up and running in another month. We have been strong proponents of developing a manufacturing base in India, and our actions continue to reflect this. It looks like theseallegations are a desperate attempt by somebody to sabotage the image of India, and we would urge you not to fall prey to such attempts.”