Datawind, the manufacturer of the Aakash tablet, has denied a media report that it will no longer be associated with the product.
The news report by India’s Press Trust of India quoted the country’s Human Resources and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal as saying that the government had roped in others players for further development of the product.
“There have been some problems with Datawind, I must confess. Therefore, I have got into the act. IT ministry has got C-DAC and ITI into the act and I am going to ensure that this product is fully indigenous and truly an Indian product,” Sibal was quoted as saying to PTI.
“Datawind would like to state that we’ve not been informed officially or unofficially by the Ministry of HRD of anything restricting us to participate in the next tender,” the company said in a statement.
“The statement quoting the honorable HRD Minister appears to be false and is a deliberate attempt by some negative elements to stall the ambitious project of Kapil Sibal to eradicate digital divide in education in India. We believe the articles have misquoted the Minister,” Datawind added.
The company also said that it shares the vision of the Minister, and is committed to providing indigenously manufactured computing & internet devices at the lowest prices in the world, to both the government and the commercial markets.
A report in the Business Standard suggests that the Indian government has already roped in the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and state-owned telecom equipment manufacturer Indian Telephone Industries to further the development of the tablet computer
“The minister said improved version of the tablet would be fully indigenous and would be launched soon at the same price,” the newspaper report states.
The Aakash tablet, a lost-cost Internet access device dubbed the world’s cheapest tablet computer, was unveiled on Oct. 5.
The government had plans of buying 100,000 tablets from DataWind at an all-inclusive price of around $45 per unit for distribution among students and plans to deliver 10 million tablets to post-secondary students across India. The target price of the 10 million units is around $35.