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Datawind To Launch Under $100 4G LTE Phablets In 2013


Datawind, the maker of Aakash tablet, is is looking to launch 4G LTE phablets (large screen phones), reports Lightreading India.

Citing Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli, the report states that Datawind is currently testing these devices with an US telco and will be launching it in second half of the fiscal 2013.  Tuli also claimed that these devices will be available in a sub-$100 price range.

The report states that the phablet would be based on the FDD-LTE technology, which is the standard technology adopted in the US. Elaborating on its India availability, Tuli told that this device will be limited to the United States, however they plan to launch an India-specific device “when the time is right”. Tuli didn’t disclose any specific details on the device.

Note that majority of 4G players in India, including Bharti Airtel and Reliance, will be rolling out its 4G services using the  TDD LTE technology, with an exception of Videocon, who is looking to deploy its LTE service using FDD technology by second half of 2013.

4G Rollout Status in India: Only Airtel has launched its 4G services in the country in limited cities including Pune, Kolkata, and Bangalore. Reliance Industries, which has pan-India BWA spectrum in the country, is reportedly planning to launch its 4G service in December 2013.

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Earlier this month, MTS India had also stated plans of launching LTE services on CDMA spectrum. Tikona Digital has also reportedly invested in 4G gear but it hasn’t rolled out its 4G service in India yet. The company has 4G licences in five circles including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh-East, Uttar Pradesh-West and Himachal Pradesh. Also, worth noting that there are no 4G-compatible handsets available in the country. Airtel also offers 4G services through an external dongle and router.

Datawind and Aakash

Datawind had found itself in a dire situation with the Indian government due to the delay in the Aakash tablet delivery. In March 2013, there were reports that the government seems to have dumped the Aakash tablet project, which turned out to be just a confusion with the Minister of Human Resource Development MM Pallam Raju.

Yesterday, A PTI report (via The Economic Times) suggested that Datawind has shipped one lakh Aakash units to the government, thereby completing the deal after almost two and a half years.

Aakash Project Developments Till Now

Feb 04, 2009: The $10 Laptop: A Myth

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Jul 23, 2010: India Government Develops $35 Tablet; What Can It Do? Features, How It Was Built

Aug 09, 2010: OLPC India Now Targets 1M XOs In 2010; Negroponte Writes About $35 Tablet

Aug 12, 2010: India To Distribute 1 Million Units Of Its $35 Tablet In 2011; Demo

Sep 03, 2010: HCL Wins Contract For 100,000 $35 Tablets For India

Jan 20, 2011: $35 Laptop Still A Distant Dream; HCL’s Tender Cancelled: Report

Sep 29, 2011: Indian Govt Expected To Launch $35 Tablet On 5th October

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October 5, 2011: Indian Govt’s $35 Tablet Finally Launches As Aakash; Costs Rs 2250

November 2, 2011: What They’re Saying About The Aakash Tablet

Dec 15, 2011: Aakash Tablet Available Online for Rs 2500; Ubislate 7 in Jan 2012

Feb 3, 2012: Uncertainty Around The Future Of The Aakash Tablet

Feb 21, 2012: Aakash Tablet Project – Govt Dumps Datawind; MediaNama’s RTI

Apr 17, 2012: Aakash Tablet: Govt. Accepted 650 Out Of 6440 Tablets; Spat Between DataWind & Quad

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April 23, 2012: Upgraded Aakash Tablet To Be Launched In May; DataWind Vs IIT-Rajasthan

May 23, 2012: Aakash Tablet RTI: Rs 47.72 Cr For 100,000 Tabs, Cost $49.98 Each; No Tender Docs With Ministry

May 28, 2012: Aakash Tablet RTI: Only 572 Tablets Distributed To 19 Colleges

November 14, 2012: Indian Government Unveils Aakash 2 Tablet; Aakash In Education

November 27, 2012: Aakash 2 Manufactured In China And Not India; Datawind Refutes Allegations

December 17, 2012: IIT Bombay was planning to develop multi–lingual educational applications for Aakash tablet.

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March 25, 2013: Report suggests that Indian Government is looking to shut down the Aakash project. However, Minister of Human Resource Development MM Pallam Raju however contradicted his statement and said that the government is planning to launch the next version of Aakash tablet shortly.

May 1, 2013: Datawind CEO Tuli claims that Datawind has shipped one lakh Aakash units to the government, thereby completing its deal.

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