Public and “expert” opinion could not kill it, nor could controversy. But in the end, negotiations between Thailand’s Ministry of Education and the manufacturer of the Once Tablet per Child project simply broke down as a the two sides simply could not agree on suitable terms and pricing. A seemingly unfazed Education Minister Suchart Tadathamrongvej told The Nation that the backup plan to supply students with more traditional paper-based textbooks was in effect.
Had the tablets been successfully procured, one million Grade 1 students from select institutions would have had their textbooks replaced with Android tablets. While not completed in time for this new school term, it is likely that the ministry will continue to push for modernization and complete the procurement process within the near future.
While Android takes this (small) hit, Apple on the other hand is preparing for the release of this year’s iteration of the iPad with local carriers. With the recent imore article stating a April 27 release date, it does seem likely that Thailand will see an unveil before the end of this month. Backing up imore’s claim is a recent text message blasted by local number 2 carrier, DTAC offering its service subscribers the chance to RSVP for a New iPad with a deadline of 24 April. While Apple retailers are tight lipped on the matter (of course), sifting through Apple’s online store for Thailand shows updated product description and filtering options that include the option for New iPad.
While not hard to come by as gray market imports, obtaining one before the launch is dependent on how long the supply lasts. Having seemingly learned their lesson from the previous two iPads, shops are no longer “obtaining” the new iPad from “importers” at a high price anymore and are offering the new iPad at just a 1,000 THB (US$32) premium over what carrier and Apple retailers are expected to price them at. In the past, some shops have sold previous pre-Thailand release iPads at up to twice the official price, feeling the burn of having sourced overpriced imports.