The government has finally launched the second version of its low cost tablet and it couldn’t get any cheaper. The tablets running on 1 GHz Cortex A8 processors with 512 MB RAM are being given to students for Rs 1,130 (approx $20).
The tablet was launched on Sunday, by President Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of National Education Day.
Pluggd.in had earlier reported that the government will launch the tablet on November 11. We had serious doubts about the pricing of the device and also had raised questions about the specifications of Aakash 2 based on the data that was available at that time.
However, much to our relief, the final version came out to be a tad better and cheaper (with subsidy) although still an inferior device compared to others available for comparable price in the market.The 7 inch capacitive screen tablet which the government purchases from UK manufacturer Datawind for Rs 2,263 will be given to engineering colleges and universities in the beginning. The multi touch screen of Aakash 2 has a resolution of 800 x 480 px.
Unlike the previous version which was a non starter, this time around there are some functions and features around the Android tablet which make it a decent computing device for that price. According to the government,
Some of the initiatives in technology-enabled education that can run on Aakash Version 2.0 tablet include Ten Thousand Teachers Training Programme – a live video interaction with participants , Clicker applications for real time feedback in country-wide classroom, Daisy Books for differently-abled students, NCERT content , GNU Khata- an accounting package for barefoot accountants in rural areas and Scholarship Portal integrated with Aadhar.
The retail version of the tablet is being called UbiSlate 7Ci by Datawind runs on Android 4.0.3 and is sold for Rs 4,499. Like the government device, the Ubislate 7Ci is Wi Fi only and sports a capacitive screen. The resistive screen version with similar configuration is being sold for Rs 3,499.
The previous edition of the low cost tablet project ran into multiple controversies and the government had to scrap the deal which was won by Datawind.
The government claims that the low cost device was co-developed by IIT Mumbai, Center for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) and Datawind. However, we suspect if any real engineering went into it or if any Intellectual Property is going to come out of it. Its just a simple game of volumes, specification and cheap Chinese manufacturing and subsidized imports.
1 GHz Cortex A8 processor
7 Inch Multi Touch screen at 800x 480 px.
512 MB RAM
4GB (internal) flash memory
Front facing camera (VGA)