Aakash Tablet PC circling in the sky: Datawind snaps ties with Quad
Aakash Tablet PC manufactured by UK based Datawind, 1,00,000 units of which were to be supplied to the Ministry of HRD, India, is set to face further delay. This time Datawind has alleged that Hyderabad based Quad Electronics has violated its Intellectual Property Rights. Datawind has outsourced assembling of Aakash Tablet PC to Quad Electronics and has now snapped its ties with Quad Electronics.
Datawind and IIT Rajasthan controversy: Earlier Datawind has accused Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Rajasthan of dirty tricks and favoritism towards another firm. IIT Rajasthan is the nodal agency overseeing the Aakash Project including testing the product for quality. The initial lot of the Tablets supplied to IIT Rajasthan has failed in the testing. Following Datawind’s accusations, the Government has removed IIT Rajasthan as the nodal agency and has asked IIT Mumbai to oversee the project.
Aakash version 2: Further manufacturing of the Aakash 1 Tablets have also stopped as Datawind along with IIT Mumbai are working on Aakash 2. Supply for the 1,00,000 units of Aakash Tablet PCs will resume after Aakash 2 is finalized and production starts.
Datawind and Quad Electronics controversy: Datawind has accused Quad of circumventing its relationship with Datawind by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with IIT Rajasthan and selling the inventory away in open market. Datawind claims that the Aakash Tablet PC is developed by them and hence they own the Intellectual Property Rights which Quad has violated. Datawind is now looking for new manufacturing partners.
Further, Quad Electronics has alleged they have not received the payments for the devices that they have already supplied. Datawind has refuted these allegations saying that all payments except the 600 units delivered to IIT Rajasthan have already been cleared.
About Aakash project: Aakash is a project by the Ministry of HRD, India, which aims to provide subsidized Tablet PCs to colleges so that all students can be connected to a Nationwide E-learning program. Datawind, a UK based manufacturer won the bid to supply the Tablet PCs. The Government of India has appointed IIT Rajasthan to oversee the drafting of specs and quality for the Aakash project. IIT Rajasthan is now replaced by IIT Mumbai in this project. Quad Electronics is an Electronics Manufacturing services provider to whom Datawind has outsourced the assembly of Aakash Tablet PC. Datawind has now snapped ties with Quad and is looking for new partners. Datawind also has a commercially available Tablet PC ‘Ubislate’ which is sold online. Ublislate has more features than the Aakash Tablet PC and is sold at a higher cost.