Thailand Delays Tablets for Schools Decision

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Cabinet has delayed a decision on awarding a contract to a little-known Chinese company to supply 900,000 tablet computers for students in the first year of primary school.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the issue was not on the agenda of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting because the Information and Communication Technology minister needed to further study the deal’s details.

She said the delay did not imply any problem with the favored bid from Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Co. Ltd.

The minister, Anudith Nakornthap, had announced Monday that a special committee led by Education Minister Suchart Thadathamrongwate had picked the Chinese company to supply the tablets for a lowest-bid price of $81 each.

Three other Chinese companies, Huawei, TCL and Haier, were also bidders. Huawei’s proposal was the most costly at $135 per tablet.

Supplying tablet computers for all schoolchildren was a campaign promise of Yingluck during last year’s election.

The specifications set by the Thai government call for tablets with a seven-inch touch screen, 512 megabytes of memory, some 16 gigabytes of storage, and a 1 gigahertz or faster processor capable of running Linux or Android operating systems.

Terms also include delivery of all units within 90 days of signing the contract.

Shenzhen Scope’s website says it employs 1,500 people at factories in China’s southern manufacturing heartland. It makes tablets, mobile phones and televisions.