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Low-Cost Indian Tablet Project Falls To Corruption

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the failure-to-launch dept.

Android 144

symbolset writes "The first Aakash tablet proposed for India schools has failed. Datawind managed to deliver the $45 Android tablet as reported here previously, but suffering a breach in faith by both their contract manufacturer and the accepting agency in India had to put the project on hold. Facing a loss in revenue it's turning into a disaster for the small Canadian company as they are now proving unable to deliver both the Aakash tablet and the parallel retail product. Senior executives have begun to flee. The company has presold a great many tablets, and delivery failure reports are beginning to mount. Is this the Phantom console of this decade?"

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Money first (1, Funny)

AG the other (1169501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907451)

Get the money first and then manufacture the product.

Re:Money first (-1, Flamebait)

Kotakee (2632245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907505)

Exactly. And this is all fueled by Google's greed. The way Google has done it removes all of their liability from shit like this while still getting them money. Of course, this will start to hunt them in the long run. Android brand is already quite known as crap quality and people who want quality products tend to choose iPhone/iPad or Windows Phone 7 smartphones. Android, and Google itself, has pretty much become a bad joke around the town.

Re:Money first (5, Insightful)

biohazard35 (2499308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907565)

What? Google had nothing to do with this failure other than making the OS. Just because they make Android doesn't mean they are responsible for every android device that is made. That is like saying Microsoft is at fault if the motherboard of your new computer fails.

Re:Money first (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907631)

You're missing the point: in the mind of Joe Sixpack, the Android name IS tied up with bottom-shelf low quality, low performance hardware, so the image ingrained in the minds of the public is "Android = cheap knockoff of iOS". That might let you sell a lot of units - people like cheap! - but Apple has locked up the profitable niche.

Given a choice, most people want iOS, and sometimes will settle for the knockoff if it's enough cheaper. People buy their cheapo Android devices, the devices struggle to run anything acceptably, and that harms the brand image of Android. Apple is doing the smart thing, making sure iOS runs well on every piece of hardware that is sold with it.

Re:Money first (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907737)

This is the worst fucking troll on Slashdot since "think about your breathing."

Re:Money first (-1, Troll)

Katakee (2632925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907827)

No, it's not. You can ask pretty much anyone about what Android brings to their mind. Most people's responses would be something along the lines of "cheap, but shit quality". They might not necessarily put it that blatantly, but it's what's intented and meant.

Of course, there is a good market for shitty quality cheap phones too. I know several people who buy cheap dumb phones just so that they can leave their expensive iPhone at home when going out to get drunk. This way you don't lose the more expensive item. I have never need to do that as I don't lose items while drunk, but several people have chosen that way. Android phones are somewhere along those lines - you get it because it's cheap and you don't particularly care if you lose it. You could even get an Android phone as your drunk phone so you can leave iPhone at home.

Re:Money first (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907889)

Really? The people I've talked too about cellphones wouldn't know much of a difference between Android phones and an iPhone beyond that the iPhone is really popular.

Re:Money first (4, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909585)

Actually, Android recently surpassed iOS as the primary(most popular) cell phone platform(I had no idea Symbian was on top prior to this)..

http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/news/item/14693_Q1_2012_Android_OS_installed_b.php [allaboutsymbian.com]

So technically, it's the Android phone which is really popular. I suppose it doesn't hurt that there are a bazillion different staged versions of Android out there on all sorts of devices, versus ~5 versions of iOS on a very limited range of products.

Also, as MacOS is still ~27% behind Windows as the most popular OS, and only 7% above Linux OS popularity, they really aren't as ubiquitous as people make them seem. There is a lot of hype, but significantly less actual progress for the OS/equipment beyond standard-use consumers.

Re:Money first (0, Troll)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907937)

All your story proves is the relative stupidity of iPhone owners you know. Fall down drunks who only care about fashion accessories.

Re:Money first (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907989)

Here! Here! Troll and idiot all rolled up in one.

Re:Money first (1)

Katakee (2632925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908033)

All your story proves is the relative stupidity of iPhone owners you know. Fall down drunks who only care about fashion accessories.

I don't even own an iPhone. I own old HTC Windows Mobile based phone. I just don't use my phone almost at all, so I see no reason to upgrade.

Re:Money first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908147)

I'm pretty sure we figured out what the problem is. You're mentally challenged.

Re:Money first (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908153)

In other words you're an ignoramus spouting off about what you don't know.

Or are you just that MS shill?

Re:Money first (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908041)

kotakee or katakee?

shill is a shill shill with shills in it's shill.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908815)

I don't know about that. The bootyass ones were pretty bad.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907659)

If Vista gets blamed because third parties didn't write good drivers for it at launch, then Android gets blamed for this.

Re:Money first (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908163)

Vista got blamed because Microsoft and Intel colluded to get substandard video hardware rated as "Vista Ready".

Re:Money first (1, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909237)

I finally gave up supporting my Mom's old Vista computer (marginal hardware) and installed Ubuntu. Everything works great (including sound and WiFi) with standard install. Performance is snappy. I can also support here using Remote Desktop (not needed so far).

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907569)

Android brand is already quite known as crap quality

[citation needed]

and people who want quality products tend to choose iPhone/iPad or Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

TROLOLOLOLO...

Re:Money first (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907581)

Wtf does Google have anything to do with manufacturing and government requirements issues? Android is software, all the problem are hardware. If you are gonna blindly bash Google, at least keep it relevant unless this is an attempt to troll.

For those of you who are to lazy to RTFA.

1) Government wants $45 laptop to have military grade ruggedness (of which was not stated until late into the game). Quote from the article, ' The criteria included being able to withstand four inches of rain, enduring shock tests when “mounted in a vehicle,” and when subject to “sudden acceleration, braking, or turning while transporting the units.” ' Normally I wouldn't consider this that bad but for a $45 laptop, I can definitely see an issue.

2) The manufacturer "signed an agreement with I.I.T. Rajasthan to manufacture what Mr. Tuli said he believes is a rival low-cost tablet." This side seems to be a mess of Corporate political issues. You can read the article for more on this yourself.

Re:Money first (1, Insightful)

Kotakee (2632245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907673)

Likewise, most bluescreens on Windows are/were caused by hardware issues. Yet people on slashdot make fun of Microsoft about that.

Re:Money first (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907807)

Bad analogy. BSOD is a software issue because the OS didn't trap the hardware failure and crashed.

The same thing happens on Linux but at a MUCH smaller frequecy. Bad hardware (except for the processor which runs the show) shouldn't crash your system.

Re:Money first (1)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907923)

The same thing happens on Linux but at a MUCH smaller frequecy.

[citation needed]

Re:Money first (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908727)

[citation needed]

[brain needed]

If you don't know why this is +5 Insightful and +5 Informative, then you completely validated the entire point of this post.

Learn when "citation needed" is appropriate for use. Here's a hint, when you use in inappropriate places, such as here or in other less formal circles, you sound like a complete fucking idiot because you're demanding information but are too stupid and/or lazy to realize your means of prompting additional information is completely inappropriate. Furthermore, "citation needed" has become to mean, "fuck you, prove it." To wit I say, no, fuck you, you lazy, egotistical moron.

And to address your specific point, while I'm not aware of any specific study, it has been widely accepted for over a decade that Linux has had vastly superior reliability and uptime than Windows servers. If for no other reason than thread-centric programming requires higher fragmentation and resource locking constraints. There have been studies which back this up, not to mention, its extremely easy to deduce if one knows much of concurrent programming issues. All of which is why defacto doctrine requires periodic reboots of Windows boxes (ior atleast application restarts) which does not hold true for Linux.

So in a nut shell, what did we learn? One, we learned you're an idiot. Two, we learned that Linux has a long history of longer uptimes than Windows. Three, we learned resource utilization when contrasting process vs thread centric leans poorly toward threaded environments for high uptime. And lastly, we learned that Linux has a well deserved reputation for not crashing, unlike Windows.

Now, if you want to argue Window's reputation for crashing is systemic of poor quality third party drivers, go for it. But it doesn't change that Windows as a whole has acquired a justly deserved poor reputation for uptime and its corresponding blue screen of death over the last several decades.

So to bring it full circle, "brain needed", seemly infinitely more approprite in response to your post, than does your post in kind.

Re:Money first (5, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907961)

Hate to tell you. Linux doesn't have a microkernel. Hardware/driver failures crash the system (Kernel panic).

Correct attribution of failures is a major feature of microkernels.

That said hybrid kernels (including windows) do OK except the components that run in kernel (mostly video). Blue screens are much less frequent then they used to be.

Re:Money first (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908341)

It can't, not anymore. Its damned near impossible to BSOD a Windows 7 system with a bad driver, it will just silently kill and restart the driver (as a system should) and make a little note in Action Center about it. And while your experience may vary I had a HELL of a lot bigger time with crashing X Server than I ever did with BSODs. it especially didn't seem to like having a video playing while surfing to pages that may have an embedded video or surfing pages with possible embedded video while playing tunes in the background. Hell Firefox won't allow hardware acceleration in Linux because X Drivers are buggy [osnews.com] and they don't want to be blamed for X crashes.

As for TFA it has nothing to do with Android and everything to do with shitty governments wanting a pie in the sky. A $45 tablet and they want milspec? yeah and I want my Alyson Hannigan sexbot for $50 and a pack of Lucky Strikes and now we're both disappointed, while certain things ARE inflated one thing that isn't is how damned expensive it is to make electronics that can take milspec abuse. The reason a toughbook is so damned expensive is because of the amount of abuse it can take and you just can't get the materials to absorb that much punishment for $50, just not gonna happen. And they want double battery life and double CPU for the same price? Again the reason the price was so low was precisely BECAUSE it was using chips not in high demand such as its ARM 11 366MHz CPU. You want something that is going in more high dollar cell phones you have to pay a more high dollar price, that's reality. What it sounds like they are wanting is a milspec iPad for $50 and are using that as an excuse to give one of their buddies the contract who will of course probably come out with something worse than what this guy is offering so they can pocket more profit after bribing officials.

Re:Money first (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909859)

"and I want my Alyson Hannigan sexbot for $50 and a pack of Lucky Strikes and now we're both disappointed"

Too greedy. I'd be willing to forego the cigarettes.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39910027)

linux can map corrupt RAM if you know the bad blocks from a memtest. windows can't.
other than that windows has the advantage of dealing with bad drivers/hardware

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907909)

Great thinking there. "If blaming software for faults in interacting with hardware is ok, then blaming software maker for political and financial problems of manufacturer is ok too".

Nice try (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907583)

I don't know what town you live in (or who is paying you to live there), but to most people, Google and Android stand for options. If you want to save money, you can get a cheap Android device. If you want to pay for quality, you can get a quality Android device. You can put whatever you want on your own device. And I don't think any reasonable person would expect a $45 Android tablet to have the same capabilities or quality as an iPad, and it doesn't need to if you look at what it's designed for: to make technology available in a non-1st world state.

Of course, the nature of your post and the fact that your ID is almost as high as the National Debt show you are nothing more than a paid (at least I hope you are at least getting paid) astroturfer trying to make Google look bad. The truth is that Google is nowhere near the "bad joke around town". People like you are, though. Subtlety, try it.

Re:Nice try (5, Informative)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908243)

> If you want to pay for quality, you can get a quality Android device.

It is more like: if you pay for quality, you *may* get a quality Android device, but you wont know until much later. Some manufacturers promise support and upgrades, but never deliver. In fact none of the Android manufacturers delivers consistently decent (not even outstanding) support.

Re:Nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908329)

Zomg your UID is too low, he might call you a shill, watch out!

Re:Nice try (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908767)

At $45 they were basically looking at an ereader with wifi and the ability to run some limited programs. DataWind did deliver a design that could be made and delivered at that cost, and the second generation was even better. This could have been awesome. The price point is important because India needs about a half-billion of these tablets to provide one to each student over the next decade. They have devised a k-12 curriculum to put on it.

I'm confident they will find a way, but it doesn't look like DataWind is going to be able to pull it off unless some angel investor swoops in and rescues them.

Re:Nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909095)

the town i live in is reality. to most people good and andriod stand for free. its not what you get if you want some thing nice.

Re:Money first (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907585)

It never ceases to amaze me how shills/whores can find a way to blame anything on the company in their crosshairs.

It's no wonder the quality of your posts are just a step above 'goaste' - your username is even reminiscent of 'goatse'.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907595)

Herpderp.

I bet you were alllllll about how great google is way back in the day. Here's a fact: I have a droid tablet and I love it. High quality, problems are rare at best. I'm glad I bought it and have gotten it's money's worth several times over.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907675)

Looking at your profile you had nothing good to write about google. In the last few stories all you have done is talk bad about google.

Re:Money first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907821)

Slashdot - a site completely overrun by Faggot Communists and Apple Fanbois. Oh, I forgot; they're the same thing.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908137)

Yes, Google is soooooo greedy that they give the OS away for free!!! oh wait, that makes them not greedy.. dam!! curse you reality!!!

Re:Money first (0)

Katakee (2632925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908311)

Seems like Google's business plan is too "advanced" for you to understand. Great way to show your own stupidity.

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908349)

Oh look, it's bonch.

Slashdot's biggest shill, with multiple sock puppet accounts. We haven't had a poster this shitty since Signal 11.

Doesn't the FTC require to disclose that you're paid to post this?

Re:Money first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907649)

A bleeding heart will kill you.

Re:Money first (2)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907913)

You clearly haven't done business in India. "Manufacture the product" is where things went off the rails here, even as stated by the summary: "but suffering a breach in faith by both their contract manufacturer and the accepting agency in India had to put the project on hold." Corruption is most often found in the implementation phase of things, because at that point you're committed to the bridge/road/product/building/whatever and the person demanding a bribe understands this. It's far easier to simply give back money during a fundraising period than it is to cancel a project halfway through. And when you really think about it, this is a manifestation of 'taking the high road,' by not doing whatever you can to come up with extra cash to pay off the corrupt, but instead canceling the project. Not the nicest high road to take, but such is life.

Re:Money first (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908235)

Answer? Make it in China and don't tell them about any deals! From the looks of it it was the Indian government with its head up its ass, it kept changing the specs with finally asking for specs similar to USA milspec (which as anybody knows costs thousands per unit because of how much abuse they can take. They ARE built for the battlefield after all) while still expecting them to keep the price low enough you could practically give them away...ohh AND they wanted double the battery AND a doubling of speed on the CPU! Hell why not ask for a pony to bring the stars of the last porn convention to blow you while you are at it?

The moral of this story is FUCK THE GOVERNMENTS and instead simply make as good a product as you can to fit a price point. if this guy can crank out sub $80 pads that are actually pleasant to use? Then he WILL find a market for them. Hell if it'll play SD video at whatever resolution the screen is I'll take 4 please. But by dealing with governments unless you are a "good old boy" that knows their games and whom to slip the envelope of money to you aren't gonna win friend, that is just the way it is.

Re:Money first (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908565)

The moral of this story is FUCK THE GOVERNMENTS and instead simply make as good a product as you can to fit a price point.

To put that lesson in a more educative way, when you want to make the life of people better, if you need money, you'd better get the money directly from them, and not use the government as a proxy.

Re:Money first (2)

KDEWolf (972921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909455)

It doesn't sound as bad when people call it Kickstarter.

incomeptent contracts != corruption (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907453)

incomeptent contracts != corruption

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907667)

It's funny that you can't even spell incompetent [reference.com] .

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907681)

Does spelling matter as long as the information the word was intended to transmit was passed on?

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907699)

Yes, you moron. Unless the sentence is framed correctly, you cannot assume that the intended information was passed on.

Are you the guy that wrote the summary?

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (1, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907815)

Even if the sentence is framed correctly you cannot assume the intended information was passed on. Idiot.

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907951)

Are you the guy what wrote summary?

Fixed that for you.

samzenpus (posting anon because login fail to lost password)

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (1)

deoxyribonucleose (993319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907701)

Yes.

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907799)

It's not just incompetent contracts, but also looks like there was some breach of faith somewhere alone the way.

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (4, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908061)

incomeptent contracts != corruption

Breach of faith means that somebody failed to meet their commitments. That can mean that they signed up to do things that they later found out were harder than they thought. That's incompetence. Or more often it means that they knew they wouldn't come through and took your money anyway.

The fact that they were paid in advance for hardware tells me it's more likely corruption/fraud than plain incompetence, but often you get the incompetence rolled into a fraudulent deal.

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908321)

"$45 tablet? No sir, this is impossible. You told us $45 tabla. Now that we can arrange."

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908477)

You need to go out there and see it for yourself before commenting.

corruption = incompetent execution of contracts
corruption = unforeseen delays
corruption = last minute change of specifications
corruption = change of ministries
corruption = profit
corruption = ???
corruption = -$$$

Corruption is the same path travelled by the same people down the road every day.
Technology exists to audio record every meeting and to have it
reviewed for 'training purposes'. It would be good to get systems like that introduced
whenever complaints are filed about a particular member of staff, office or department.

Re:incomeptent contracts != corruption (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908725)

incomeptent contracts != corruption

That may be true, but in my experience business deals require a little trust. If you think you can make a deal with untrustworthy people but protect yourself with contracts, you're naive. When you take the other guy to court because he stabbed you in the back, no result you can hope for beats never having dealt with him in the first place.

These kinds of international business deals that involve technology and design know-how transfers are especially tricky. If your overseas partner suddenly realizes that he can make a lot more money with the technology he's got from you doing something else, it's much harder to go after them. I've seen really savvy business guys lose their shirts on deals where their foreign partner used their capital to develop technological capability, then pulled out when the technology was proven, reorganizing as a different legal entity.

Queue the phony Gamemaker dialog in 3... 2... 1... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907497)

If I see one more spate of unintelligible posts about Gamemaker from multiple accounts (at least 4) owned by the same jackass, I'm gonna slit my wrists. Can we please confine him to answers.yahoo.com and the other sites he's poisoned?

Re:Queue the phony Gamemaker dialog in 3... 2... 1 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907551)

what is it with black people and the bus stop? anytime you see a bus stop, there is always a black person there.

i would bet money that if you put a bus stop in the middle of sibera, hundreds of miles from anyone and left it for a few hours, when you return there would be black people in it. stereotypical black people too. there will be an old man holding a bicycle tire on the rim, muttering to himself. there will be a fat black girl on her cellphone talking too loud and shaking her finger while doing the "mmmhmm" thing. lastly there will be a 20-something thug-life wanna-be with bloodshot eyes.

black people and the bus stop, it's a mystery.

Re:Queue the phony Gamemaker dialog in 3... 2... 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907975)

what is it with black people and the bus stop? anytime you see a bus stop, there is always a black person there.

This is just plain wrong. It is true though that no-matter how empty a bus may be, or how nice and sunny the day, there will always be at least 1 person at the stop who, when the bus arrives, will shove their way right up to the door to rush on there. It's as if they're on fire, waiting in line to be dowsed with water.

Re:Queue the phony Gamemaker dialog in 3... 2... 1 (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909883)

"If I see one more spate of unintelligible posts about Gamemaker from multiple accounts (at least 4) owned by the same jackass, I'm gonna slit my wrists."

Useless. Find HIM and slit HIS wrists instead.

what did they expect? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907517)

India? Corruption? You don't say...

Re:what did they expect? (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907527)

Looks like they forgot to factor in the cost of bribes. India is pretty much a 3rd world country by most standards. Money goes a long way towards having things go "right".

Re:what did they expect? (4, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907587)

The phrase 3rd world has nothing to do with standards or wealth and India is a 3rd world country, I believe.

That being said, I do not know about bribes, but I have been involved in projects where part of the team was outsourced in India and you often get what you paid for with outsourcing from what I have seen.

Re:what did they expect? (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907687)

I have been involved in projects where part of the team was outsourced in India and you often get what you paid for with outsourcing from what I have seen.

Let me guess

"I can hire a whole team of educated experienced developers in India for the cost of one American dev"

turns into a bunch of imaginary billing by people with fake degrees and no experience and no communication so it ends up costing more and not working.

Analogy: Tenth cost android tablet in India ends up late and doesn't work. Isn't this Just how it always turns out over there?

Re:what did they expect? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907765)

No, everyone we paid for at the very least seemed technically qualified for the job.
The problem was that several other companies were also paying them to work full time for them.
We found out, and one thing lead to another and they withheld all the work they had done on the project thus far.

Re:what did they expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907879)

No, everyone we paid for at the very least seemed technically qualified for the job.

Did you verify this? Did you check with any of their other clients? Did you get examples of their work?

The problem was that several other companies were also paying them to work full time for them.

Did you set up delivery schedules? Did you send anyone to India to "sniff around"?

We found out, and one thing lead to another and they withheld all the work they had done on the project thus far.

Let me guess; you still got suckered out of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Due diligence - learn it.

Re:what did they expect? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908663)

Did you verify this? Did you check with any of their other clients? Did you get examples of their work?

Did you set up delivery schedules? Did you send anyone to India to "sniff around"?

Le me guess... "Why should we? The outsourcing consultant who made a lot of money said it would be just like hiring local employees and we've never done any of that to our employees."

Re:what did they expect? (3, Insightful)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907813)

turns into a bunch of imaginary billing by people with fake degrees and no experience and no communication so it ends up costing more and barely working but when you fire them you discover that the code is a twisty piece of crap with WTFs everywhere and it would be easier to start over from scratch.

Re:what did they expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908211)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World), or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions.

Re:what did they expect? (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907949)

> 3rd world country by most standards

By all standards I believe. I don't think they backed the US nor the USSR during the cold war.

Re:what did they expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907733)

I've done enough outsourcing in India to say this without batting an eye: India rivals China for being the most corrupt dishonest culture with a serious economy.

Re:what did they expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908323)

Disclaimer: I have already used modpoints or I wouldn't post AC.

I think it all depends on the size of the company and your legwork in avoiding issues.

I (thankfully) have not been involved with sourcing in India as yet (and I don't believe I will be due to their manufacturing not being in-line with our needs) however I find the trick with China is to find out who is *ACTUALLY* the manufacturer of a product and deal directly with them. 95% of the companies are just middle men, dip their beak and are done. Quality is a joke and if a corner can be cut they absolutely will, even without understanding the reason for that corner. Right now I am working with a distributor which is a middle man for the factory and I can attest it's been a nightmare - obvious errors on production samples, poor finish, the whole kit and kabodle. Frankly if we weren't this far into the project we would cut our losses now and source it with another more trusted vendor somewhere else.

While this doesn't directly speak to the dishonesty & corruption, I just wanted to add my 0.02 CAD.

Re:what did they expect? (2)

kryogen1x (838672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907757)

Yeah, if only they had run this project in a city like Washington DC, we'd have computers that print money to cover their own costs.

another reason to stop outsourcing to india (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907567)

if they can't get their own projects right, why pay them to do ours?

there's rampant overcharging. sure it's half the cost per developer, but you need 6-20 times more developers to get the same work done. not to mention the cost of having your managers telling them what to do in great detail.

i personally stand with ceo's over union workers, but how can the ceos be so stupid as to outsource IT?

Re:another reason to stop outsourcing to india (2)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908855)

CEOs don't care one bit about the cost of business.

Either you raise the price of the finished product and make the customer pay for the inefficiency, or you claim a business loss, and use tax loopholes to make the government pay for the inefficiency.
If that all fails, you can fire enough low-level employees to cover the inefficiency. and if THAT fails, you max out the corporate loans, write yourself a nice fat severance check, and disappear into South America.

The only thing a CEO cares about is whether or not his new Tesla Roadster will be delivered on time

Barely legible summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907575)

Wtf, slashdot? Can't you at least correct grammatical errors before publishing stories?

Re:Barely legible summary (0, Offtopic)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907677)

To save on costs ot seems Slashdot has outsourced all editing to India.

Re:Barely legible summary (3, Funny)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907963)

By now we all know that the editors don't do a lot of editing. I suggest that people start submitting summaries without spelling errors.

Is it any suprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907717)

A tablet for 70 - 75 dollars in India (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39907779)

People seem to be surprised that Akash tablets are turning out to be failures.The cost factor was a big lie and so it will be revised.
There are tablets available for $70-$75 range.Take a look at olivepad v-tr200 specs.You will be surprised that its there and shipping.
Not that it ought to be good...but cost reduction is possible.

http://www.olivetelecom.in/laptop/olivepad/vtr-200.html

Short version (4, Informative)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907783)

From what I can tell, they got the tender, did all the groundwork, then the group they were collaborating with came out with new impossible to achieve specs, backed up by the government, and their subcontractor wandered off to create a competing product.

What a pity, but it looks like they've been had.

Re:Short version (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908493)

Sadly this kind of thing is all too common in India. A friend of mine was fool enough to believe it when he was promised all kinds of percentages and payments "in the future" if he'd help arrange investors for a project in India. He did his work, he made the contacts, and now most of the participants have signed on to side deals that don't pay him anything.

We warned him it was too good to be true. I'm sure people warned those who got into this $45 tablet debacle, too. But some people won't listen to warnings once they get the dollar signs in their eyes...

Re:Short version (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908823)

Well hopefully it doesn't ruin any of the well meaning guys that tried to make this happen, dollar signs aren't usually stacked too deeply around $45 tablets! With any luck they can call it lesson learned and get on with their lives the wiser for it.

Re:Short version (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909107)

Don't underestimate the profitability of hitting a billion user market in hopes of earning $1 per customer...

Re:Short version (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909625)

well jeez it was just such an original forward thinking item that no one could have ever come up with ARM+touchscreen+android during all this time they have been dragging nuts getting around to it

DataWind (2)

karolgajewski (515082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39907789)

I don't know if it's fair to still call DataWind a Canadian company. Yes, it was founded in Montreal, but ... R&D is in Montreal.. management is in the UK.

Doomed from the start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908183)

You can't bend the laws of physics and economics. The biggest, most influential company in the tablet space still gets to pay roughly ~$200-$220 for the bill of materials to produce their devices. That's with their negotiating prowess when dealing with component suppliers.

A $45 device, even if subsidized implies a) no profit drive b) BOM that's essentially not enough to even cover the cost of the screen, c) compromises up the ass, d) no support.

These types of things should always be shunned and criticized. Let the free market sort these things out by itself. If the users are too poor to afford a tablet they probably have bigger problems to begin with, and some half-assed linux device with terrible usability is hardly a necessity.

Couple this with traditional government incompetencies, you need several parties in the chain to get a taste. You could do that with high-margin electronics. With a device that's essentially free it's damn near impossible. Everyone likes the idea of helping poor people to gain access to information but that's a theoretical exercise. In the real world you need a profit motive of some kind.

Even Android tablets that cost 400 dollars are barely usable, EOL'd from the moment you unpack it, and lack a tested and proven toolchain to deploy in enterprise settings. You can't outsource your IT operations to XDA forums and be at the whims of 16 year old ROM flashers to fix your shit with some custom firmware because the company that produces the tablet doesn't know how to do software.

Maybe I'm addressing the wrong crowd, seeing how OLPC has been given a pass for many years on /. when it should have been ridiculed from the very beginning.

Re:Doomed from the start (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39908969)

My Transformer TF101 at $400 is really nice. It has ICS, and you can buy them now for $350 even though there's a new model out that has quad core. The iPad2 can be had for $350 as an Apple refurb. But those are 10" tablets, and the one we're talking about is half that size.

They don't need to make a ton of money on each one. India was looking to buy a half-billion of these tablets. And the maker would get to have the brand recognition as provider of tablets to all the students in India - and so sell their retail tablets at more of a markup.

I know it seems unlikely, but it does appear they were going to make it happen.

Italian company I'm spa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908271)

There's another Italian company producing a product called I'm watch. They've been taking preorders for about a year and it looks like they're going to stiff people as well. And the smart watches aren't cheap. Starting price of >$400.

ever wonder why India is a third world slum? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39908851)

Just look at the Indians who immigrate here to the west, and have contributed virtually nothing except to be embroiled disproportionally in fraud schemes and scamming the public system.
Crime statistics in any big city is invariably dominated by Blacks, Hispanics, and Indians (of course lefty media never mentions the names or race of criminals anymore).

Datawind were trying to sell junk anyway (1)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909153)

This project needs to die, and die fast. It doesn't matter just how it happens, it's a colossal waste of money. Datawind were trying to sell awful junk for more than it costs to just buy a bit less awful junk from China. The Indian government department concerned is clueless about technology, from the minister all the way down.

Shameless self promotion, but very relevant: you can read my old blog entry about the folly of this project here: http://colourmeamused.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/4/ [wordpress.com]

The reason for poor internet penetration at this point isn't that much to do with cost right now. There are many many people who can well afford to get internet access and afford basic but adequate computing devices in India but don't. Maybe we should start with those people first. I'll write something about the state of internet penetration in India, if anyone's interested you can subscribe to the blog if wordpress lets you do that.

What is the BFD with an $45 tablet (2)

Roman Mamedov (793802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909235)

Everyone touts it as the second coming, some great breakthrough etc. Well here's one for $55. $10 more? Yes. But with free worldwide shipping included.
http://www.aliexpress.com/product-gs/454240700-7-Inch-Android-2-2-Tablet-PC-support-WIFI-3G-Android-MID-with-retail-package-8121-wholesalers.html [aliexpress.com]
+ thousands of other models.
People thinking a tablet is called an iPad and costs $500 or whatever and you can get nothing cheaper, should get a reality (or an Aliexpress) check.

Re:What is the BFD with an $45 tablet (2)

Roman Mamedov (793802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909267)

Re:What is the BFD with an $45 tablet (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909645)

Oh, Wow! What a deal!

A device with half the memory that I needed to run a GUI-based Linux distribution over five years ago, and less storage space than my MP3 player.

This isn't a "product" anyone will find useful. It's a piece of crap that won't actually run anything worth the effort.

Re:What is the BFD with an $45 tablet (2)

Roman Mamedov (793802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909947)

The linked tablets have the exact same specs as the indian one mentioned in this story. So if you're going to diss the specs, you can start right with that one. And no, you don't run an old GNU/Linux distribution on these tablets, you run a tailored version of Android. Which runs pretty well with 256 MB of RAM.

Poor Country == Corruption (3, Interesting)

superflit (1193931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909665)

Coming from a third world country I can tell:

The more poorer a country more corruption it has.

And please do not refute using 'per capita' income (the arabs country have higher 'per capita' but it seems only for the 'choosen ones')

Sad but true...

Re:Poor Country == Corruption (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39909897)

"The more poorer a country more corruption it has."

In rich countries, we call corruption "government" and it's less visible due to being in cahoots with the people who also own the media.

Software Also an Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39909675)

The Indian govt wants to give the tablet to students.
But there are very few good educational apps for Android.

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