Montreal-based company Datawind Inc. 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.
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