Free $60 Aakash Tablets for Indian students

Government of India announces free Aakash Tablet for studentsMinistry of Human Resource Development has recently made the announcement that the world’s cheapest tablet computer ‘Aakash’ would be given free of cost to the students of various state universities across India. The free Aakash Tablets for students is an initiative by Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal to provide every student in India with a low cost computer. Initially when launched in the first phase, this tablet computer costing INR 2500 was to be provided to various state university students at a subsidized price of Rs. 1138. This vision was further extended to provide the tablets for free to the students.

The announcement for providing free Aakash tablets for students was part of Minister Kapil Sibal’s vision to empower the students with latest technology for facilitating in the education process and to connect the 25,000 odd colleges and 400 universities across the country with e-learning programs. The first phase of distributing around 30000 Aakash tablets was carried out in January 2012, and given to the various colleges and universities with IIT Jodhpur primarily given the task of evaluating and testing the tablet for performance issues and feedback before giving it on a larger scale to others.

The review and feedback to the first Aakash tablet however by and large is not too warm as it is primarily criticized for its slow performance and buggy interface. These criticisms are however taken in to consideration by the Government and DataWind – the company which made the Aakash tablets; and are now working towards making a better performing tablet in the similar price bracket.

Aakash 1 specs are as follows:

  • Runs on Android 2.2.2 FROYO
  • Screen size 7 inches
  • Processor ARM 11 366 MHz CPU
  • 256 Mb of RAM
  • Resistive touch screen
  • 2100 m Ah battery
  • WIFI network connectivity
  • USB ports for connectivity and data transfer
  • No front facing camera
  • Mp3 format support
  • Office documents and PDF support

The above specs themselves tell a story as to why Aakash 1 didn’t get much positive reviews. While the efforts and the thought behind Aakash were commendable, it fell back in terms of usability issue and some basic functions.

Firstly, the processor being 366 MHz is sluggish and results in a lag while browsing through web pages and viewing documents. The Android operating system 2.2.2 is outdated and was more buggy and freeze prone of all the Android Operating systems. Secondly the RAM at 256 Mb is nothing to write about either. All these, coupled with a weak battery and buggy UI on the tablet led to the announcement of a much more sophisticated and stable Aakash 2 tablet, also know as UbiSlate. Aakash 2 priced slightly higher than Aakash tablet at INR 2999, is doubly powerful and stable to its predecessor. Again this price is for general public and would be available for the students at either highly subsidized prices or completely free, with the universities and Government sharing the cost of the tablets.

Aakash 2’s specifications are far better than Aakash 1; the Indian Government and DataWind should be complimented for taking the negative reviews of Aakash positively and coming up with a reasonably solid performing tablet computer at not much of a price difference. The Government has also roped in Bharat Heavy Electrical  Limited (BHEL) and Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) to aide in the process of manufacturing this entirely ‘Made inIndia’ tablet.

The specs of Aakash 2 also known as UbiSlate 7+  are as follows:

  • Operating on Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
  • Screen size 7 inches
  • Processor Cortex A8 700 MHz CPU
  • 256 Mb of RAM, 2Gb internal storage
  • Resistive touch screen
  • 3200 m Ah battery
  • WIFI and GPRS network connectivity with SIM support
  • USB ports for connectivity and data transfer and 3G modem connection
  • Front facing camera
  • HD video playback and streaming, thanks to its HD video co-processor
  • Mp3 format support
  • Office documents and PDF support

As you can see, the upgraded processor is almost twice as fast compared to the previous version and while the RAM stays same at 256; its performance is slightly better and the Android 2.3.3 gives the overall package better stability making it bug-free. The touch screen performance too is improved and is much more responsive, as claimed by the company. The ability to use a 3G modem dongle and the front facing camera on the tablet makes it possible to have video chats and the SIM card support gives it a full phone functionality.

The Aakash tablet in its limited specs is a great tool for the students and can go a long way in giving India and its education system the technological boost it needs. For once, the Government can be complimented for this initiative.

Comments

  1. YADNESH MUKUND KULKARNI says:

    I want to buy a new aakash tablet 2 , but i dnt know what is the procedure to register for it for the students . so pls help me where i can register for it? & hw can i pay the money for it? what is the cost of aakash tab 2?

  2. taraahmad says:

    sir me delhi me rehta hu sir ye aakash tab oct 2011 ko nikala gya tha puri tarah abhi tak distibuite nahi huwa i request u k jaldi se jaldi isse har state me distibuite kar wa de plz

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  1. […] or buttery smooth Android experience. It is an educational device and at a very-very low cost, to empower India and its student population with the latest in technology to keep them abreast with the learning pattern of other developed […]

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