In September 2010, the Minister of Human Resource Development & Communications and Information Technology, Kapil Sibal, showcased a tablet computer called “Sakshat” which the Ministry was to distribute to higher secondary school students. He said the tablet would be launched in January 2011. However the company, HCL Info Systems, which, through a tender floated by the Ministry, had won the contract to source and distribute the computers initially, backed out. So the Ministry floated a subsequent tender in February 2011, which the Canada-based DataWind Ltd. (DWL) bagged. This tablet, named “Aakash” by the Ministry.
Now, why did HCL Info Systems back out of the project? HCL Infosystems Ltd, is one of India´s premier hardware, services and ICT systems integration company offering a wide spectrum of ICT products that includes Computing, Storage, Networking, Security, Telecom, Imaging and Retail. HCL is a one-stop-shop for all the ICT requirements of an organization. India’s leading System Integration and Infrastructure Management Services Organization, HCL has specialized expertise across verticals including Telecom, BFSI, eGovernance & Power.
Though DataWind did not come out with Aakash Ii, HCL Info Systems unveiled two tablet computers in the first week of April 2012 – HCL ME U1 and HCL MyEdu Tab. While HCL ME U1 has been introduced with a price of Rs 7,999, the HCL MyEdu Tab – K12 Version is priced at Rs 11,499.
The U1 tablet is powered with the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich Operating Software (OS). HCL claims that the tablet is equipped with 17 local ready to use applications. It has a 7 inch 800X480 pixel screen and a 1Ghz processor.
The tablet has a front camera and 512 MB RAM, with an internal memory of 4GB expandable to 32GB. HCL ME U1 also has a full USB, mini USB and a Micro SD card slot. The U1 also provides for Wi-fi connectivity.
On the other hand, the MyEduTab tablet is meant to cater to the needs of learners across schools and higher education institutions.
Now, does HCL think that no useful tablet can be made and sold at Rs 2,750? The MyEduTab is a direct competitor to Aaksh II, though not cost-wise!