Amidst lots of negative publicity (its issues with IIT Rajasthan, the Indian government and Quad Electronics), Datawind finally announced the much awaited commercial launch date of UbiSlate Tablets and its support eco-system. The upgraded version of the much touted low cost Tablet Aakash is to be launched on April 26, around three months behind schedule (earlier, it was supposed to be launched in the last week of January. More on that here.
These Tablets received unprecedented response on pre-order which started in December 2011. According to the company, individual pre-booked orders have exceeded 3 million mark and it is increasing by 10,000 everyday and factoring in the corporate/institutional orders it has surpassed the 4 million mark.
Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO and co-founder of Datawind said, "True, there have been lot of delays, we could not live up to the expectations of our customers and was unable to meet our deadlines. There have been lot of hassles with IIT Rajasthan and Quad Electronics, the contract manufacturer of Aakash over payment issues. Now, we will really be caught up regarding the initiation of deliveries of the ordered Tablets in the next two weeks."
Tuli also said deliveries of Aakash 2 deliveries for IIT Bombay will start next month.
Talking about complaints over poor customer support, Tuli said, "We have got unprecedented response. According to BSNL, we receive 40,000 calls from unique numbers everyday, of which we manage to respond to only 4,000. To respond to all the calls we would need to expand our call centre base, which would need some more time."
Datawind had started taking paid bookings for its Tablets from last week of January and those customers will be on priority delivery list as the company cannot immediately meet the demand of all the pre-orders.
Headquartered in Amritsar, Datawind Innovations Pvt Ltd has about 85-90 employees in India. The UK-based parent Datawind Ltd also makes netbooks.
The company aims to capture 10 per cent of Tablet market share in India by end of this year. It forecasts total market of 250,000-500,000 Tablets of which 50,000 will be of Datawind's. This in a way gives way how many Tablets it can supply this year. So if you are (still) waiting for Ubislate you have just 1 per cent chance of receiving it this year (remember 4 million outstanding orders?)!