New twist in Aakash tablet controversy

Niyaz Shaikh

The controversy over the Indian government’s $45 tablet, Aakash, has taken a fresh twist, with a scrap breaking out between the manufacturer, Canada’s DataWind Ltd, and its erstwhile assembly partner, Hyderabad’s Quad Electronics Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Meanwhile, thousands of people who have booked the tablet are bearing the brunt of the fight. Bookings for an upgraded version of Aakash, the UbiSlate 7+, opened late last year, but deliveries are yet to start. Many of those who have booked the tablet have paid an advance.

The fight between the two former partners, who have terminated their relationship and claim to have served legal notices to each other, is the latest chapter in the troubled saga of the government’s ambitious effort to bridge the digital divide with a low-cost product. The government was expected to buy 100,000 Aakash tablets, but stopped after the initial lot when serious quality problems surfaced. The number…

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