|Founded||2001 (Montreal, Canada)|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Suneet Tuli, CEO
Raja Tuli, Co-founder, CTO
DataWind is a developer of wireless web access products and services. The company is now widely known for its development of the Aakash, an inexpensive tablet computer developed in conjunction with India's Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD). The tablet launched by DataWind was the world's first $35 low cost computing and web access device. The tablet is now dubbed globally as the world's cheapest tablet.
DataWind is a British manufacturing and marketing company that produces wireless web access devices. The company was originally founded in Montreal in 2001 by brothers Suneet and Raja Tuli from the Indian state of Punjab. Now headquartered in London, UK, the company has offices in Amritsar, Punjab, India; Dallas,Texas, US; and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
With its research and development based in Montreal, the company until 2010 marketed its production primarily in the UK, where it is registered as an LLC. In 2004, the company was described as a "small tech shop" marketing its key product, the PocketSurfer, a PDA/cell phone/web browser device. Several iterations of the PocketSurfer followed.
Following a development process beset by delays and setbacks, the tablet will be offered at a sufficiently low price threshold – distributed by the government to students at a subsidized price of $35 and to the public (as the Ubislate 7) for $60 – to enable ubiquitous, nationwide internet use. At the subsidized price, the tablet will cost about the price of a pair of shoes or a basic mobile phone.
In 2010 the company won an Indian government tender to design the Aakash tablet computer – now under manufacture by the Indian company, Quad, in an initial trial run of 100,000 units. The Wall Street Journal called the Aakash, "the world's cheapest tablet."
The seven-inch touch-screen tablet was co-developed with Datawind and Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan as part of the country's aim to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in an e-learning program with an ultimate production goal of tens of millions of units. Datawind projects the Indian government will buy 8 million to 10 million devices by early 2012. Time Magazine reported in 2011 that Datawind is considering marketing tailored variants of the Aakash in the U.K., the U.S. and Latin America.
In a 2011 interview, the company said it lowered the price of the tablet by developing patents to shift the device's processing burden to "backend servers in the cloud," by eliminating middle men whenever possible (DataWind itself designed the Aakash's boards, integrated components in-house and made the device's touch panel), and by monetizing the operating system – that is, selling apps for the device through its own app store. Despite using the Android operating system, the device does not have access to the Play Store.
ITPro India and other sources reported that Datawind is co-developing the world’s least expensive 4G-enabled tablet with Reliance Industries.
Orders taken but no refunds for cancelled & non-delivered tablets for 1 year. According to a NYTimes interview with CEO of Datawind, DataWind has not been able to meet the demand by paid consumers and also education institutes, due to delivery logistics issues. Per Consumer Court Complaints cited in grahakseva & "Consumer Redresal Council of Indian Government (ccrc)", numerous enthusiasts ordered and paid for the Aakash Tablet, but have not yet taken delivery. Also, as cited in firstpost, there was no response on Datawind's support by phone or email, One of the customer who paid the full amount online during Nov 2012 [PM8BFACD1AB9] has yet to receive the tablet after 1 year. After making full advance payment major number of customers didn't receive this Aakash tab even after 2/3 years which make this venture as cool minded scam.
Owing to the huge number of pre-bookings made for the Ubislate tablet, the company has been deferring the deliveries of its product. Deliveries started only in August 2012 a full 9 – 10 months behind schedule. Many Ubislate forums on the net have a common complaint, that they have pre-booked and pre-paid but have been waiting for months for the delivery of their tablet. The tablet has generated great curiosity and has been awaited by the Indian public but the long wait is making people move to other similarly priced alternatives which have now started flooding the market. Many forums also allege that they have been duped, as their mails are not answered and the helpline does not work. Considering the number of pre-bookings and even if five percent of them have pre-paid for the device it translates into a huge sum. Datawind should make some announcement from their side to ease these customers' concerns. The current strategy of the company is to take the complaint and give customers a complaint id [GQ1126KT1423 for the payment made on 20 Nov 2012] and promise them that the tab will be delivered within 7 working days.
This company is accused of taking money from customers and not delivering products. A consumer has to approach online consumer grievance redressal forums and pay their fees to claim what is rightfully theirs. And after so much harassment the tablet is only delivered after a few months although they claim to deliver it in 7 days. If one wishes for a refund, they charge 500 according to company policy.
- Example of Scam (non delivery of product)
- Complaints by customer
- LiveMint article about non-delivery of product
- More non-delivery examples
- Facebook community started about the scam
- "Aakash tablet will end ‘digital divide’". Montreal Gazette, Jason Magder, October 6, 2011.
- b, a. "Aakash: World's cheapest tablet launched; to be sold for $60 in retail". Economic Times(India). Retrieved october 5,2011.
- "Meet Aakash, India’s $35 ‘Laptop’". New York Times, October 5, 2011, Pamposh Raina and Heather Timmons. October 5, 2011.
- "Will Cheap Computer Bridge India's Digital Divide?". NPR, Corey Flintoff, November 2, 2011.
- "Aiming for the Other One Billion". New York Times, October 6, 2011, Heather Timmons. October 6, 2011.
- "Biz Briefs: Web on the Run". Time Magazine, Sean Gregory, December 17, 2004. December 17, 2004.
- Smith, Dave. "Why Steve Jobs would applaud the world's cheapest tablet". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Singh, A. "World's Cheapest Tablet". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Singh, A (Dec 15, 2011). "World's Cheapest Tablet goes on sale". Economic Times. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Kurup, Saira (9 Oct., 2011). "'We want to target the billion Indians who are cut off'". Times of India. Retrieved 9 Oct., 2011.
- "India Announces World’s Cheapest Tablet". India Real Time, viaThe Wall Street Journal, Tripti Lahiri, October 5, 2011. October 5, 2011.
- [bbc_10740817">http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10740817 "India unveils prototype for $35 touch-screen computer"]. BBC, 23 July 2010.
- "India's low-cost tablet is made by Canada's DataWind". Computer World, John Ribeiro, October 5, 2011.
- "The $35 Tablet: Will India's 'iPad' Sell Stateside?". Time Magazine, Nilanjana Bhowmick /Oct. 17, 2011. October 17, 2011.
- "Aakash: We want to target the billion Indians who are cut off, says Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind". Economic Times, October 09, 2011, Saira Kurup. October 9, 2011.
- "India's Low-Cost Tablet is Made By Canada's DataWind". CIO Magazine, John Ribeiro, October 05, 2011.
- Singh, A. "No access to Play Store". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "After "Aakash" DataWind to develop cheapest 4G tablet". ITPro India, Priyanka Banerjee, 31 Oct 2011.
- "Impressed by Aakash, Swedish minister to meet Datawind CEO". Thaindian News, 18 Oct 2011.
- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/technology/indias-aakash-venture-produces-optimism-but-few-computers.html?pagewanted=all 17.
- http://www.grahakseva.com/topic/aakash-tablet 18.
- http://www.firstpost.com/tech/aakash-tablet-what-datawind-claims-and-what-the-facts-are-537388.html 19.
- "Datawind eyes $500-mn valuation in just 12 mnths". Business Standard, Piyali Mandal, January 13, 2012.