Aakash – World’s Cheapest Tablet from India

Monday 10th, October 2011 / 13:21 Written by

The long cherished dream of Ministry of HRD, Government of India is fulfilled when it launched the world’s cheapest Tablet PC. It is a dream come true for millions of tech hungry students spread across the length and breadth of the country who cannot afford the luxuries of world class Tablets launched by premium brands like Apple, HP and Dell. The idea was conceived for the first time in Government circles in the year 2005 when a proposal was made to procure laptops from foreign agency at a cost of $100 for each laptop so that students can access internet facility easily. At that moment the average cost of laptop was $800 and Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered to deliver each laptop at $100. As a second thought, Indian Government had constituted an expert team comprising of experts and members from Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) – Some of the premium technology and research centers in the world.

The first breakthrough came in the year 2007 when a graduate student from IIT, Delhi came up with a motherboard that can be connected with other electrical components of the computer. This model was included in Government sponsored program named, National Mission for Information Communication and Technology in 2007 and the project was assigned to IIT, Rajasthan. This advancement led towards utilization of the circuit for low cost computing devices. And, it took another two years from there to develop a prototype of the low cost device. More than 170 students from IIT, Rajasthan were involved in bringing out the first prototype in 2009. As per the initial cost, the Tablet PC was made available at $35.

 

The device labeled – Aakash, was launched by Kapil Sibal, Minister for HRD a few days back. Coming to the features of Aakash, it has a 7 inch display screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixel and 2 GB of storage. The tablet comes with 250 MB of RAM and has a processor of 366 MHz processor. The Tablet  operates on Android OS. Datawind Limited – Wireless and web access products manufacturer from Montreal had won the bid to manufacture one lac Tablet PCs. The company has to roll out one lac devices in the coming five to six weeks and they may expect 8 million to 10 million devices order from the Government by the year 2012.

The field testing, framing of specifications and co-ordination of the project was handled by IIT, Rajasthan and design, development and manufacturing of Aakash was undertaken by Datawind. Datawind has ambitious plans to promote the product commercially in India and other potential spots on world market. It may deliver high-end version of the same products even in UK and US for some targeted customers.

As per the functionality of Aakash, it has enough power to play High Definition videos, to read books and to run office applications. Even though the processor is a low-end for browsing, the device is built on compression and acceleration technology by which it will be able to shift some part of the processing to cloud space at internet surfing time.

Here are the specifications of the Aakash Tablet as per their site:

  • Screen 
    • 7″  Resistive Screen with a resolution of 800×400
  • Operating System
    • Android 2.2
  • Processor
    • Connexant 366 MHz processor in addition to Graphics Accelerator and HD Video Co-processor
  • Memory & Storage
    • 256MB RAM / Storage (Internal): 2GB Flash
    • Storage (External): 2GB to 32GB Supported
  • Connectivity
    • Connect via GPRS or WiFi
    • GPRS: Embedded modem eliminates the need for external dongles and allows Internet access everywhere
    • WiFi: Allows fast Youtube videos at hotspots
    • Fast web access even on GPRS networks, across the country using DataWind’s patented acceleration technology
    • Web, Email, Facebook, Twitter and much much more!
  • Multimedia and Image Display
    • Image viewer supported formats: PNG, JPG, BMP and GIF
    • Supported audio formats: MP3, AAC, AC3, WAV, WMA
    • Supported video formats: MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, FLV
  • Full sized-USB port & Micro-SD slot:
    • Expand memory to 32GB
    • Use any ordinary pen-drive
    • Even plug-in a 3G dongle
The specifications above are for the consumer version of the tablet (called the UBISLATE7) which should retail at around Rs. 3000. There’s a subsidised student version as well which is about half the cost at around Rs. 1500. The student version may not have the connectivity options like 3G sim card.

For more information about this tablet, head over to www.ubislate.com.

About the author

Deeptaman Mukherjee is one of those rare names in the Indian blogosphere, who pursues blogging as his hobby. In the 4 years of his blogging experience, he has worked with some of India's top blogs. He presently blogs at My Portable World and Tech Buzz Online. For any engagements or just to say a Hi, do get in touch with him at Twitter & Facebook. Know more about him, here.

View all articles by Deeptaman Mukherjee

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