New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Communications Minister Kapil Sibal Tuesday said many foreign companies have shown interest in manufacturing the second version of the low-cost tablet Aakash 2 in India.
"We have invited companies from across the world for manufacturing and many are ready to manufacture it here," Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of World IT Forum 2012.
"Currently we are looking at the design and other parameters. After we freeze the design and technology, manufacturing will take place. The second version of Aakash will be launched in May," he added.
The announcement comes even as Canadian firm Datawind, which has been manufacturing Aakash, got into a spat with the Hyderabad-based assembler of the tablet, Quad Electronics, in the last few months.
Quad has reportedly alleged that it has not got its payments for the initial order of assembling 20,000 tablets.
Datawind on the other hand said that Quad breached Datawind's intellectual property, circumvented their relationship with IIT-Rajasthan, signed an agreement with them and then sold off their inventory in the open market.
Aakash 2 is expected to have three times more powerful processor and the resistive touch screen of the older version will be changed to capacitive touch screen. The device which was earlier expected to be launched in April will also become expensive compared to the earlier version which was priced at $35.
Talking about empowering the masses with 3G and 4G services, Sibal said these services would have limited access to the masses unless the government ensures that the cost of these devices go down.
"We must develop manufacturing in India," he said while inaugurating the two day forum which will focus on use of ICT in agriculture, education, health and e-Governance, within the overall theme of 'ICT for Sustainable Human Development'.
The forum will discuss the role of IT interventions in bringing about greater transparency in governance, issues of privacy and security while dealing with public databases, financial inclusion and ways of leveraging wireless technologies.
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