Working with IIT Bombay was an experience completely unlike the one working with IIT Rajasthan, the manufacturer of India’s low-cost tablet Aakash 2, Datawind has said.

In an interview with Firstpost, Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind Ltd. said that the working styles of IIT Bombay and IIT Rajasthan were like “day and night”.

“In our opinion, there is a day and night difference in the way they function. IIT Bombay is more professional and focused. They are much more cued in to developing and creating applications and content – which is so critical to the project,” Tuli told Firstpost.

The original Aakash tablet launched in October last year was fraught with problems. The tablet had issues like a stubborn resistive screen, poor battery life of just a little over an hour, a slow processor that could not run multiple applications simultaneously, an outdated OS and a body that was prone to overheating.

Later the supply of the tablet came to a halt as manufacturer Datawind and IIT Jodhpur (Rajasthan), appointed by the HRD ministry to handle the awarding of contract and subsequent supplies, sparred over the testing criteria of the tablet. In April this year, IIT Rajasthan blamed Datawind for the failure of Aakash, following which the two took to court.

According to the Indian Express, IIT-Jodhpur claimed damages from Datawind and also decided to forfeit the Rs 50 lakh that the latter had deposited as earnest money.

Datawind, responded by sending a notice to two faculty members of IIT-Jodhpur for violation of the non-disclosure agreement.
Following the subsequent delay and embarrassment, IIT Rajasthan was expelled from the project, which was then handed over to IIT Bombay in May this year.

“IIT Bombay’s focus has been on how it can create a platform and applications for users that can take their experience to another level. Applications and content are critical to any tablet and that’s why we are so thrilled with the work we do with IIT Bombay,” Tuli said, adding, “IIT Jodhpur was only focusing on hardware and trying to see if the product can sustain four days of rain.”

Tuli also told Firstpost he is happy with what the government is already doing for Aakash 2.

“I think the government is already doing what it needs to be doing. It is their vision to give all 22 million students in India the tablet and they have also initially started off with teacher training in college and universities,” he said.

The Central Government is procuring the tablet from Datawind at a price of Rs. 2,263 which it will provide to students at a cost of Rs. 1132 – a subsidy of 50 percent.Tuli said that the Centre also intends to push state governments to subsidise the product further so students can eventually get it at either a very negligible cost or free of charge.

Datawind had sold 20,000 tablets to the Centre as of Monday night and is expected to deliver a total of 100,000 tablets to the government by the end of December.

President Pranab Mukherjee launched the Aakash 2 tablet in the capital on Sunday.

Source: Firstpost