Last year, DataWind in association with the Government of India came out with a 7 inch Android tablet for students. Named Aakash, the tablet costs Rs 2,999 in the market; while its subsidised rate is just Rs 2,250.
Aakash, which was hailed as the cheapest tablet in the world, was projected as revolutionary and was talked about the world over. In fact, its makers got lakhs of preorders.
Before the euphoria could die down, though, public sector telecom operator BSNL has come out with an extremely low cost tablet of its own. Manufactured by Noida based Pantel Technologies, the Penta IS701R tablet has WiFi and is priced at Rs 3,499.
Now we have two tablets in the same category - at around Rs 3,000. Here we try to compare the Aakash and BSNL tablets in terms of availability, price, specifications and value additions.
DataWind, the Canadian company that is manufacturing Aakash, on a previous occasion failed to honour its commitment to make the tablet available in retail stores by the end of November last year. Now the company has said that Aakash will be available in stores by March, but there has been a lot of flip flop on DataWind's side.
Aakash tablet was initially to be made available only to students through colleges and schools. However, the company then started taking online orders for the tablet from everyone, including students. Besides, DataWind has given only 10,000 Aakash tablets to the government for distribution in schools and colleges of the one lakh initially proposed.
On the contrary, BSNL's Penta IS701R will be available in retail stores and BSNL outlets across the country by March 1.
Virendra Singh, managing director of Pantel Technologies, said to The Mobile Indian, "We have the shipments ready and we will definitely see to it that our tablet reaches the store by March 1.”
Since Aakash tablet has missed the delivery deadline on three occasions we should not jump to the conclusion that BSNL's tablet will also meet the same fate.
As of now, though, neither tablet has yet hit the market.