The Indian government’s pledge to equip millions of students with low-cost tablets is looking weaker by the day, especially now that news has got out detailing just how few Aakash tablets have come to students in the country.
According to Indian tech publication MediaNama, IIT Rajasthan has received just 6,640 Aakash tablets from UK-based, Datawind, the vendor tasked with bringing these tablets to students in India. The company had been expected to deliver 100,000 tablets by March 31, although a Datawind executive said that only 10,000 Aakash tablets had been shipped towards the end of last month.
Sadly for everyone involved, that is not the end of the bad news. MediaNama reveals that the government has so far distributed only 546 of the tablets to students across 19 colleges, and adds that Datawind is still to be paid for the contract. It is perhaps to no great surprise, then, that the Indian government has not received any Aakash tablets since 1st November 2011.
Having been marked as a potential success story for tablets in education, India's Aakash project is quickly disintegrating into nothing short of a disaster.
Despite earlier optimism, in recent months there have been reports of the Indian government being unhappy at the quality of the first-generation Aakash, and of Datawind being dropped from the project altogether. Datawind also recently sued Quad Electronics for copyright violation, when the latter - the former contract maker of the Aakash - tried to sell the tablet directly to the Indian government.