The world’s cheapest tablet just got upgraded. The Indian Government today unveiled to the world the “Aakash 2″ — with improved specs and matured enough to make it usable. Built by DataWind, and manufactured in India, the Aakash 2 will be available to students in India at a subsidized price of INR 1,130 (aah, just $20!). For commercial buyers, the tablet will be sold as Ubislate 7Ci/7C+ starting at INR 4,499. So, what is the Aakash tablet, how does it compare with other tablets, and should you get one? All your questions answered here.
What is “Aakash 2″ Tablet?
Aakash 2 tablet is the second in the series of Android-based tablet computers produced by British company DataWind, for the Government of India. The tablet was developed for an initiative to link 25,000 colleges and 400 universities in an e-learning program. The first generation of the Aakash tablet flopped due to sub-par hardware and technology.
Aakash 2 is much more matured, powered by a 1Ghz Coretex A8 processor, it runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Apart from this, the tablet comes with a capacitive 7-inch touch screen with a resolution of 800×480 pixels, front-VGA camera, 512MB RAM, 4GB Internal Storage which can be expanded up to 32GB using the microSD card slot, WiFi, and SIM-card capability for 3G and voice calls. However, the device dissapoints in the battery department with a dismal 4hrs of backup. But the package is enough to get a college grad started and connected. IIT-Mumbai along with the Ministry of Human Resource Development has created several useful educational applications for the tablet. Teachers and students in the remotest corners of India can join a classroom and benefit from lectures delivered by the best teachers.
The press release for Aakash 2 states —
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. “
This tablet PC is even capable of running Linux operating systems, for various other uses like adhar authentication and to control a robot from a distant place, amongst other things.
“Aakash 2″ Availability To Students
The ultimate goal of this scheme is to connect all students and varsities in India. About 22 crore students will get the device across the country in the next five to six years. The first 100,000 devices will be provided to students of engineering colleges and universities. A total of 244 engineering colleges in India have been selected as remote centres for “Aakash in Education” programme to start with, coordinated by IIT-Mumbai under the National Mission on Education through ICT (NME-ICT). These will be the first ones to receive the tablet. Here is the list of engineering colleges in India which will be receiving the Aakash 2 tablet. IIT-Mumbai has also conducted an online workshop with the remote centers to train them on using Aakash.
The tablet has been priced at just INR 1,130. The government subsidizes it by 50 per cent; it actually costs them INR 2,263.
What if you’re not a student? Buy the commercial Ubislate 7Ci/7C+
Aakash is the brand name for Ubislate 7Ci, which is being distributed to students. However, consumers can also get their Aakash tablet or the Ubislate 7Ci, which is the commercial name of the tablet. The commercial version is available in four variations UbiSlate 7Ri, UbiSlate 7R+, UbiSlate 7Ci, and UbiSlate 7C+. The UbiSlate 7Ci doesn’t have built-in cellular capabilities, and is priced at INR 4,499. The top-end version Ubislate 7C+ comes with SIM-support enabling voice and data services. The Ubislate 7Ri and 7R+ are priced lower, having same configurations, like 7Ci/7C+, but come with resistive displays.
Pre-bookings are currently on for the Ubislate tablets at DataWind’s website.
The hardware configuration and capabilities of the Aakash 2 or the Ubslate 7C+ makes it a worthy consideration for a budget tablet. The interface is fluid, thanks to the Android 4.0. However, the built quality of the tablet is not up to the mark, but you cannot ask for more at this price. The Aakash 2/Ubislate 7C+ is qualified to compete with the Zen UltraTab A100 and the Lava E Tab. The choice is yours!