Datawind answers complaints against Aakash tablet | News | ChannelWorld.in

PARTNER HOTLINES

Datawind answers complaints against Aakash tablet

Added on Jan 18, 2012 by Nestor Arellano, ITBusiness.ca

Montreal-based company Datawind is still labouring to fill orders for its Aakash tablet, but there are already complaints about the ultra-low cost device.

To start, there was no shortage of naysayers when the idea of a $35 tablet was floated around last year. But Datawind did manage to produce the world's cheapest tablet beating other contenders including the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization which recently released its sub-$100 X0-3 tablet at the CES 2012.

Early this week, the head of an online technology publication based in India posted comments on the ITBusiness.ca stories covering Datawind, questioning the reliability of the tablet and the company behind it. Arun Kumar, CEO and founder of Hyderbad-based Powercut Media, wrote that he had "several complaints from different people" but Datawind "service centres won't reply to any queries, provide false assurances and won't get back ever, even after repeated attempts to contact them."

Our 2010 story titled Why the $35 tablet will never exist by Mike Elgan, also got a number of comments this week. Among the comments were one from a reader who signed in as Phani who said: Absolutely true...This will never work....congress govt is playing with the people of India

Slow response to complaints

Kumar also complained about how Datawind's failure to respond to email support requests.

"The support centres are supposed to be repairing this tablet. They are not offering any kind of support, only false promises," he said.

"I have just heard of two tablets being faulty so far," Kumar added.

Sunnet Singh Tuli, CEO of the company, responded to Kumar's complaints put to him by ITBusiness.ca. "Typically, there are always some small problems and complaints about a new product when it is launched. And we would like to know more about it to be able to help our users," Tuli said.

Tuli took Kumar's e-mail address and said he would get in touch with him to get more details of the problem and help him out.

Missing tablet volume control found

But the Datawind chief also expressed some scepticism over the information given by Kumar. "His story doesn't seem to add up in some places. He needs to be more specific."

For instance, Kumar said "a friend" complained the Aakash did not have a volume control. "He took it to a service centre, where they told him to download software. But the link to do so was not provided to him."

In his office, Tuli showed us the on-screen volume control for Aakash. He also said it was doubtful that Kumar's friend brought the device in question to a Datawind service centre.

"What service centre is he talking about? We do not have service centres in India," he said.

Kumar also claimed there were people who booked and paid for the tablet but did not receive the product or got a "faulty device."

"We address these, but he has to be more specific. For instance, who are these people complaining, how can they be contacted and what technical problem is actually meant by faulty device?" said Tuli.

Kumar also said that another user complained about an Aakash that failed to boot. This person, Kumar said, asked for a replacement on Jan. 5 and was told by Datawind that he would be given an address to send in his faulty Aakash. Kumar also said he sent an e-mail to Datawind about repair complaints for Aakash but instead of an answer that addressed the issue Kumar received a sales pitch about the launch of Ubislate 7+, a new model of the tablet.

"This is unfortunate. His (Kumar's) e-mail probably landed on the sales support desk somehow and he was sent a standard answer to queries we get regarding the availability of our products. I will look into this," said Tuli.

Internet access and distribution issues

Kumar also wondered how users will be able to connect to the Internet in rural areas and how the Aakash will be distributed to the students.

"How will the tablet get to the students? Even if it does, how are they going to provide education in rural areas without connectivity?" he asked.

Tuli explained that as the Indian government sees Internet connectivity as a big part of its education efforts for citizens, especially in the rural areas, the government is undertaking to subsidize the cost of the tablet to make it more affordable to students.

"The distribution and connectivity issues are better addressed by the government," said Tuli. "But what I know is that students can order the tablet through their schools."

Tuli also explained that while India does not have an extensive Internet network similar to those of North America, the majority of Indians can connect to the Web using the GPRS networks. "There are nearly 900 million people using mobile phones with GPRS. GPRS enables them to access the Internet even in rural areas," he said.

"The government and Datawind are also talking with service providers so that GPRS Web service can be brought down to $2/month," said Tuli.

Production capacity

One problem that Datawind is labouring to meet though is production. As early as December, Datawind rang up 400,000 in sales for the Aakash -- more than the entire tablet sales for 2011 in India, which was around 300,000.

The Indian government has ordered 100,000 units of the Aakash up to March 31. Datawind has delivered only 10,000 so far.

When Datawind offered the commercial version of the tablet on its Web site last year all 30,000 units were sold out in two days.

Today, the company's Web site says it is sold out on both Aakash and the newer Ubislate 7+ for the months of January to March but the company is accepting pre-orders for both for March.

Can Datawind fill its orders from the Indian government and the public as well?

Datawind is currently manufacturing the tablets in Hyderbad, India, but will soon open two more factories. With all three factories Tuli hopes to bring production up to 75,000 units per day.

"It will probably take us two more quarters to fill our orders," Tuli said.

EDITOR'S PICK

Forecast 2015: IT Spending On An Upswing

As purse strings loosen up, CIOs blend innovation into 2015 IT budgets, but security and cost containment remain top priorities.

‘Security Compliance is Not a Proactive Phenomenon in India’

Pavan Duggal, Cyber Law Expert at the Supreme Court of India, explains why channel partners need to look beyond the IT Act 2000 as the security standards, given today’s fast-changing threat landscape, rapidly evolve.

IT is Indispensable for Business Optimization: David Aires, Intel

David L. Aires, VP, Information Technology Group, and GM, Information Technology Operations, believes security to be the biggest challenge in the current IT environment.

Is the CIO Role Nearing Extinction?

New technologies are shifting power to the hands of the user, endangering the CIO role. But do Indian CIOs consider that a threat or an opportunity? 

The Authentication Market is Big Play for Channels: Gaurav Chawla, Gemalto

We are building a partner network to address the increased demand for authentication solutions across India, says Gaurav Chawla, Director, IAM, Gemalto India.

Versatile Infosecurity: Riding the Security Wave

It takes vision and persistence to stay on top of the security curve. Versatile Infosecurity has mastered that art.

How Futurenet Technologies Helped Sterlite Copper Adopt Next-gen Client Computing

Sterlite Copper was able to successfully adopt next-gen client computing facilities with hand-in-hand assistance from Chennai-based Futurenet Technologies.

DigitalTrack Solutions: Right on the Security Track

DigitalTrack is keeping pace with the changes in the IT security space through DDoS and WAF solutions and is pushing security audits as part of its next move.

SLIDESHOWS

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.

Gartner Executive Summary Survey 2014

Gartner's Annual CIO Survey highlights the trends that will drive organizational IT spend in 2014.

10 Overhyped Tech Products That Crashed and Burned

The demos blew everyone away. Then reality hit.

Gartner Executive Summary Survey 2014

Gartner's Annual CIO Survey highlights the trends that will drive organizational IT spend in 2014.

ChannelWorld Survey: State of the Market 2014

Partners poll their sentiments, expectations, pain points, and challenges for the coming year.

FAST TRACK

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.

ETSC Computers

We want to be recognized as a complete solution provider, says Kailash Gupta, Director, ETSC Computers.

VIDEOS

Arun Parameswaran on VMware’s Cloud, Mobile, SDx Strategy

Arun Parameswaran, MD, VMware India, talks about transformation, strategy, roadmap, and VMware’s role in driving the shift to cloud, mobile, and SDx.

Parag Arora, Citrix: Our Portfolio Will Augment Our Strategy

Parag Arora, Area Vice President, Citrix India, elaborates on his action plan for the company after taking over operations in India.

Shibu Paul, Array Networks: ADN is a Great Business Opportunity for Channels

Shibu Paul elaborates on how Array Networks is empowering its partner ecosystem to address the modern datacenter challenges in India.

Scott Robertson, WatchGuard: We are an End-to-End Security Solutions Company

Scott Robertson of WatchGuard elaborates on the company’s partner roadmap in India and its subsequent shift in the security space.

Gaurav Ahluwalia, R&M: Channels Will Accelerate Our Datacenter Business

Gaurav Ahluwalia of R&M speaks on the company’s renewed focus to build its channel ecosystem and address the datacenter demands of India Inc.

Venkat Murthy, 22by7 Solutions: Real Value is in Solutions

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, elaborates on the need to look at a solutions approach rather than a mere hardware approach.

What Channel Partners Can Learn from a Sahara Adventurer

Steve Donahue, a desert adventurer and a best-selling author, takes experiences from this travels in the Sahara and turns them into lessons for channel partners, as they navigate the shifting sands of today's business and IT environment.

Rahul Agarwal, Lenovo: Profitability and Value Proposition are Vital

Rahul Agarwal, executive director, Commercial Business Segment, Lenovo India, talks about Lenovo’s renewed channel strategy and why the company is now an attractive proposition for its partners.

EMC PARTNER SHOWCASE

Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content

STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS 2014

Driving IT to Make an Impact: IDC

IT is being increasingly viewed as something which would help drive revenue rather than just another cost line-item.

Software-Defined Infrastructure: Forrester

Firms must invest in transforming infrastructure to eradicate complex infrastructure to keep pace with business needs.

Better Safe Than Sorry: PwC

Organizations should create a culture of security that starts with commitment of top executives and cascades to all employees and third parties.

New Skills for a New Era: Gartner

A new talent strategy is required—one that is a key part of the evolving IT strategy and one that focuses on a blend of business and modern IT skills.

The Rise and Growth of Big Data: Ernst & Young

Leading organizations are reaping rich rewards on their investment in big data even as competition struggles to keep pace.

SOCIAL MEDIA @ CW India
SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.