A shocker of a news for those who were closely following the India’s $35 tablet. If some reports are to be believed, Sakshat is nothing but Hivision Speedpad, a $100 Android tablet made in China.
Ever since the HRD ministry announced the impressive yet cheap Android tablet, many people within the tech community were skeptical about the whole project, specially with the pricing aspect of it. But, hardly anyone would have expected the Government to lie blatantly about the tablet being the result of hard work done by top Engineering colleges in India, whose reputation will definitely take a huge beating if at all this news turns out to be true.
At-least with what we can see, the $35 tablet looks like a knockoff of the Chinese Speedpad (PWS700HA) which was unveiled at CeBIT 2010 and received wide coverage as the cheapest Android tablet on display. Not just the looks, even the specs are very similar. Shockingly enough, none of us on the blogosphere or anyone in the tech community caught the similarity between the tablets for so long.
There is nothing wrong for the Indian government to go buy a decent enough Android tablet in bulk and then subsidizing further to bring down the price from $100 to $35, so that millions of students across the country are benefited. But the problem lies in the fact that the minister never mentioned about that tablet being Chinese but made claims that the concept is a brain child of group of Professors / experts at IISc, Bangalore, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay.
As for the news report of HCL Tech getting the contract to manufacture 1 million units of Sakshat, we have already updated that HCL is simply laying the infrastructure for the universities that may be up for testing the new device.
The best thing to do at this point of time is to verify the news with Hivision and that is what we have done. We will update the post as and when we get to hear a comment from them.
Update: We are yet to hear back from Hivision. Meantime, a commentor on CrunchGear says that the Indian tablet is not same as Speedpad and actually designed by Bangalore based AllGo systems, though the casing looks same. Still, not convincing enough. The HRD minister had claimed that the whole tablet’s design (software and hardware) was indigenous!