The Government of India has revived its $35 tablet project and released the specifications for the fourth version of the low cost tablet Aakash. After deliberations by committees and sub- committees, the government has finally signaled that the project is not dead after all.
What’s interesting is that the new version will also run Ubuntu, instead of just Android. The Aakash tablets have undergone a fair share of controversies. A good look at the specifications will tell you that its quite detailed and thorough. However, we aren’t sure if this kind of a machine can be built for cheap.
The last we heard, was from a news report which said that the government had plans to license Aakash as a brand and get third party manufacturers to license it.
Aakash 4 Specifications*
1 GB DDR3 SDRAM
4GB Integrated Storage
Upto 32 GB Micro SD Support
7 inch LCD display with 800×480 resolution
Minimum 3 Hours Battery Capacity for 720p video playback
Should Charge from 10% to 80% in two hours
3- Axis Accelerometer
Data with 2G, 3G or 4G dongle
Latest Android Stable Version
Dual Bootable with GNU/ Linux (Ubuntu)
The Aakash back story
The project began when Kapil Sibal, then Union Minister for Human Resource Development, announced his grand vision for the future of education in India: A $35 Tablet. Despite proven failure of previous such attempts, the Government went ahead with the so called plan.
Soon, it would appear, that the plan was to announce the project, put together some specifications and float a massive tender to get these devices manufactured by a private player. Fair enough.
Six months in, only 10,000 units were shipped where as nearly 4 million orders were claimed. Technical snags irritated early buyers. And negative press followed. The government tried to save the project by laying out new specifications and calling it Aakash 2.
Again, the manufacturer, DataWind, had trouble meeting deadlines. Customer complaints were in plenty.
Finally, when President Pranab Mukherjee launched the second generation Aakash, we anticipated that things would get better. But that wasn’t the case. Reports soon pointed out that DataWind was simply importing Chinese equipment and selling it to the Indian government at a mark up. Although DataWind did everything it could to refute the claim, the damage was done.