WishTel to bid for Aakash II
IT products maker WishTel today said it will participate in the second round of bid for low-cost tablet PC ‘Aakash’, though it had lost out to Datawind in the first round. The government will float a tender for the upgraded version of the tablet, Aakash 2, soon. However, neither the timing of the tender nor the number tablets to be supplied has been decided yet. “We are eagerly waiting for the same, given an opportunity we are getting ready for this project, it is a very ambitious project,” WishTel Chief Executive Officer Milind Shah told PTI.
Aakash, termed as the world’s cheapest tablet PC, was launched in October last year by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal. It comes with a price tag of mere Rs 2,276 whereas the high-end tablet PC will cost anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs 40,000. Aakash is be supplied to students at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,500. “Between ourself and Datawind, price for device was competitive, we lost out on deliverables in terms of service support, maintenance, logistics, taxes and other things. For the device, we were lower against Datawind by 10 cents, or 8 cents to be precise,” Shah said. In the overall bidding, too, Wishtel lost out to Datawind by just around 3.5 dollars, he claimed. When asked about the expected price of upgraded version of the tablet, he said, “I still cannot answer this really until we don’t really know the specifications.” No company can make claims of supplying Aakash 2 as specifications are not yet finalised, he added. Shah said the low price of the device may not be a problem for the company as the volumes are very large. “See the difference that’s going to be happen with Aakash2 is that there are huge volumes that are being committed compared to Aakash 1 … they are talking about five million devices … the economics works out differently for such large volumes,” he said.