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DataWind misleading the consumers claiming their UbiSlate as the Govt's Aakash-2 tablet
Aakash tablet PC and it's manufacturer DataWind has been in limelight for last several weeks. Being a professional blogger, I have been keeping a close eye on this company for last few weeks. Read some of the confusing and misleading information I could find on the web regarding Aakash tablets and especially the Aakash-2 tablets.
UPDATE 19 Jan 2012: The Aakash tablet related websites referred in this article are updated recently and most of the information given below are no more visible in their websites. However, the article with screenshots are retained here to let readers know what has been going on.
Recently, IIT Rajastan finalized the design of a major upgrade to the world's cheapest tablet PC "Aakash". The upgraded version will be called "Aakash 2" and will be available in the market for the same price as Aakash 1 (Rs 2,275). The subsidized price of Aakash 1 is Rs 1,999.
Aakash 2 is a concept design by IIT Rajastan and they are looking for manufacturers for mass product of this tablet PC for the consumer market, by Feb 2012.
As soon as HRD minister Kapil SIbal announced the plans of the improved Aakash 2, the company DataWind added some confusing information in their website that claims "Aakash2, a commercial version of original Aakash tablet PC will be launched in December 2011.". However, if you read further, all the information regarding Aakash2 in the DataWind website lead to their commercial version of Aakash tablet called Ubislate 7. I have no doubt many readers will misunderstand that the Aakash2 is same as Ubislate and Ubislate comes with the great enhancements announced by Mr Kapil Sibal.
Most of the newspapers reported that Aakash-2 is a new concept by IIT Rajastan and will be launched in February 2012. But DataWind has announced that it is a retail version of Aakash and will be available for purchase in Dec 2011.
Misleading information posted in the official DataWind website regarding Aakash 2
Find it yourself
Unless the information on the official websites of DataWind change the information, you can see the confusing information yourself.
Go to www.datawind.com and click on the link "Aakash/Ubislate". You will reach www.ubislate.com. Look at all the links in the bottom of ubislate.com. Follow the first link labelled "Aakash Tablet" and it will take you to "http://www.aakashtablet.com/". On the leftbar of this website, you will see a link labelled "Pre booking Aakash2 Tablet". Are you expecting this will take you to pre order the Rajasthan IIT designed Aakash-2 tablet? Sorry, you are misguided. This link will simply take you to the Ubislate prebooking screen (http://www.ubislate.com/prebook.html), which is just a commercial version of original Aakash tablet PC.
A misleading link in the Aakash tablet PC website that is labelled as 'Pre Booking Aakash2', but it links to the prebooking page of DataWind Ubislate tablet.
Here is another website directly linked ubislate.com: http://www.akashtablet.com/
This website is linked directly from ubislate.com which is linked form DataWind.com itself, and claim to offer pre-booking of "Aakash2" (not Aakash-2). But this link also lead to the pre-booking page of the Ubislate 7, which is the commercial version of original Aakash tablet. See the screenshot below:
Isn't misleading to label "Pre order Aakash2" but take the readers to the prebooking page of Ubislate, which is a commercial tablet PC and not the Aakash tablet? I very well understand both products from the same company, but Aakash tablet is a product supported and promoted by Govt of India and Ubislate is a commercial product sold by DataWind directly. There is nothing wrong in taking advantage of the market demand of Aakash, but misleading readers using wrong labels is not ethical marketing.
In the site site, you can see the main menu tab labelled "Aakash2", which takes you to a page like this:
In the above page, they claim "The commercial version of Aakash tablet, known as Aakash2, is launching soon in the month of December. Aakash2 comes loaded with great features at an excellent
price of Rs. 3000 only. ".
Here they are claiming commercial version of Aakash tablet is called "Aakash2", but numerous other places they have claimed commercial version of Aakash tablet is "Ubislate".
Update 13 Dec 2011: www.AkashTablet.com updated their website and removed all references to Aakash 2 and re labelled it to UbiSlate, a corrective step taken. I sent multiple emails to company in last few weeks. Even though they did not respond to my emails, they have removed the misleading information from few places in their websites.
Take a look at the website http://www.aakash-tablet.com/. If they haven't removed the content already, you will see multiple places where they claim "Aakash 2" is same as UbiSlate, the commercial version of Aakash tablet.
The title of the page is "Ubislate (Aakash-2) – Commercial version of Aakash tablet"
And the text in the page continues like this:
"The commercial version of Aakash tablet is named Ubislate (Aakash-2). It brings with it all the features of Aakash tablet. It has some additional features as well that make it a not-to-miss device at a very low price."
Too many websites, and all are official!
Could you ever figure out what is the official website of Aakash tablet? I couldn't.
If you go to www.datawind.com, you will see a poster that says "Aakash / Ubislate". If you follow that link, you will reach the commercial tablet Ubislate's website which is "www.ubislate.com". First of all, they should not label a link to ubislate.com as "Aakash". Ignore that as a small mistake and look at Ubislate.com. You will see a bunch of links at the bottom, which lead to the following sites:
http://www.aakashtablet.com/ Aakash Tablet
http://www.aakashtablet.com/How-to-buy-Aakash-tablet.html How to buy Aakash tablet
http://www.akashtablet.com/ Book Aakash tablet
It does not look quite right for a professional Tablet PC manufacturer company to create so many websites with different spellings and variants of the same product name. This appears to be an attempt to capture search engine traffic on multiple variants of the keywords typed by users or an attempt to block various similar domains names to avoid abuse. If the purpose is only to avoid abuse, they wouldn't have hosted all those as separate websites. Rather, they should simply block those domains names or silently redirect all of them to the primary, official website of the product. This is the first point that I noted from the beginning that made me think there is so much mess going regarding Aakash tablet.
Later I noticed their website was updated to provide information on "Aakash2" which is named very similar to "Aakash-2", the new enhanced version of low cost tablet computer designed by IIT Rajasthan.
At this moment, I am still not clear if Aakash2 published in the DataWind related website is same as the Aakash-2 tablet announced by HRD minister Mr. Kapil Sibal. I wish the HRD ministry come up with some official clarification on Aakash-2 and if DataWind is allowed to use the name "Aakash2" for their commercial product.
Aakash Official Twitter feeds
The twitter feeds from official Aakash twitter account shows Aakash2 will be launched soon and directs readers to the official website ("http://www.aakash-tablet.com/aakash2/"). Too many official sites, all linked from the official sources!
Here is the twitter tweets at https://twitter.com/#!/aakashdatawind :
If you follow the link to the official website of Aakash2 mentioned in one of the tweets, you will reach "http://www.aakash-tablet.com/aakash2/". And this is what you will see there:
Here is the latest updates through their tweets on 13 Dec 2011:
Here is the text:
Aakash Tablet - Aakash 2 PC Book/Buy/Price Datawind Website India http://fb.me/SM7B4CYq
The link leads to http://www.akashtablet.com/
Update on 28 Nov 2011: The twitter feeds were removed after I sent an email to DataWind asking few questions about the content of the tweets. I am not sure if this was removed because of my email, but it is gone now.
Update on 13 Dec 2011: I am seeing the twitter account active again. May be it was removed temporarily and restored later.
If you read the text in the site that is shown as the official Aakash2 site in their twitter feeds, you will see there is a line that says:
The pre bookings for Aakash2 have already started. There is a "Pre-book your Aakash2 now" clickable button on the official website http://www.akashtablet.com. You can go there and book an Aakash2 tablet for yourself
Confusion again! The site that was mentioned as the official site of Aakash2 guides you to another official site (http://www.akashtablet.com). So which one is really official? If you have a lot of time, you can keep going from site to site looking for the official site of Aakash2!
Another unprofessional approach I found was the support phone number I found in DataWind's Aakash tablet related websites. All of their websites have listed the phone number 1 800 180 2180. I tried atleast 50 times in the last few weeks, but could never speak to anyone in the company.
I found it almost impossible to reach the company through the phone.
Another approach to reach the owners of a website is to look for the public registry records of the domain owner. Surprisingly, they have kept the domain ownership information private. There is nothing wrong in keeping the domain information private, but usually only individuals or website owners who want to hide from public reach would keep their information private.
If you look for the domain owner of the official DataWind website, you will see the genuine owner information:
555 Rene Levesque Blvd. West #1130
Montreal, QC H2Z 1B1
Here is the domain owner information of www.ubislate.com:
Suneet Singh Tuli
555 Rene Levesque West
Montreal, Quebec H2Z1B1
(It is not registered in the name of the company, rather it is registered in the name of the owner. But this is quite common, especially in the case of small companies.)
Now, search for the domain owner information of the websites related to Aakash tablet, which are linked from ubislate.com. All of them are private.
This is the domain owner information you can find about other Aakash tablet related websites, linked directly from ubislate.com:
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
(DomainsByProxy.com is a company that allow you to use their address in the domain owner public records, if you want to hide your direct contact information).
NOTE: It is not illegal to use such services and hide contact information from public records. If anyone want to find the real owner, you can go through DomainsByProxy.com, which I did not do.
Since I could not find the owner information through public domain registrar records, I tried through DataWind official website (www.datawind.com). They have a contact us page, and when I used that page to contact the company for some information, this is what I got:
As soon as I click the "Submit" button, it takes me to a 404 error page (indicating the page it is looking for does not exists), which has a funny title "feel like you're in the wrong place?".
I really felt I was in the wrong place. I was expecting a professional website for the prestigious project of Government of India.
The information posted here is based on my research on Aakash tablet, DataWind and Ubislate. If anyone find the information posted here is wrong, just leave a message below and I will be more than happy to update it.
Is Aakash-2 same as UbiSlat
After a lot of research on the web and phone calls to DataWind, my conclusion is Aakash-2 announced by govt is not same as the UbiSlate sold by DataWind. IIT Rajastan has finalized the design for the upgraded Aakash computer but is not ready for the market, but DataWind is taking advantage of this situation by projecting their UbiSlate is the Aakash2.
Aakash Tablet and Unanswered questions
Here is some questions I could not find any proper answer:
1. Does DataWind has the authority to sell Ubislate as Aakash tablet?
2. Is Aakash2 mentioned in Ubislate related websites same as the Aakash-2 tablet announced by Kapil Sibal?
3. Is DataWind associated with Aakash-2 announced by Government?
4. Is there an official website for Aakash tablet run by DataWind? If so, which one is it?
5. Why do Govt announced that the Aakash-2 will be ready by Feb 2012, but DataWind related websites selling them from December? Why both of them have different configuration published?
5. Is Aakash-2 tablet same as Ubislate as claimed in some of the Ubislate/Aakash related websites?
Update 15 Dec 2011: After I sent few emails to DataWind and the Aakash website, they have removed most of the claims that says UbiSlate is same as Aakash2, even though they never responded to my emails.
18 Dec 2011: I got some responses from IIT Rajastan and they confirmed that DataWind has nothing to do with the Aakash-2 tablet.
Read my new post on how DataWind is misleading people by renaming their UbiSlate.
Read related articles: Aakash Tablet PC Aakash 2 Tablet PC
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|Author: George t mathew 09 Dec 2011||Member Level: Silver Points : 2|
|Initially I too was extremely excited regarding aakash tablet. I did all that you have mentioned in the zlob and ended up being confused. Their number is perenially busy, too many domain names leading to the same page. The tab aakash's page leading to pre cooling of aakash. Also I recently discovered that their commercial version is not going to be announced in november end but only by january next year. Something's fishy. I have lost interest in the flimsy thing now and will better opt for a second hand laptop.|
|Guest Author: jayakumar 04 Jan 2012|
|Good observation :) I have added your post link in my blog.|
|Guest Author: KAMLESH 13 Jan 2012|
|DataWind is a doubtful co asking 3 cr for distribution hopefully they may collect 120 cr or more from India.|
|Guest Author: Mohd sharif 13 Feb 2012|
|I too believe that something is fishy. The company may run away with all the money they are currently collecting through cheques. The government should take note and prevent the company from cheating the general public.|
|Author: Tony John 27 Feb 2012||Member Level: Silver Points : 3|
I am not expecting DataWind will runaway with the money, but people who sent their money are going to have a tough time following up with the company and get their tablet delivered. It is almost impossible to get them on phone and check the status. It is not a big deal to implement an online status checking feature.
The biggest mistake they did was the stupid pre-booking feature they came up. They allowed millions of people to pre-order the Aakash tablet (and now they are giving UbiSlate 7+).
If they don't have the delivery capacity, why did they accept pre orders?
Why did they allow so many people to pre order without making any advance payment? 90% of the people who did the pre booking are not interested in buying. Now how is DataWind going to identify the genuine buyers and deliver the product? Are they going to contact 10 lac people and ask if they are interested in making the payment?
They just need someone with common sense!
|Guest Author: Brijesh Vaghela 10 Mar 2012|
|if they don't have the delivery capacity ,, why did they accept pre orders?????? this is going to be very funny dude!!!!!! and i was shocked to know about that datawind has nothing to do with thw akash -2.......|