By Gayathri Soora
India has unveiled its $35 tablet computer called “Aakash” after two years of combined efforts by the education ministry in collaboration with the tablet PC makers in Canada and the United Kingdom.
At a time when similar tablet PCs are available nowhere for less than $200 unless they are sold like HP touchpad as a last means to exit the market, India has roped in niche manufacturers to develop one for students and bridge the wide gap between rural and city education systems in the country.
The result was beyond expectations but not without initial ridicule when Indian minister Kapil Sibal announced it initially last year. Industry bigwigs termed it a cheap alternative being forced on the market but took solace when the government said that it was meant for the students and being subsidized substantially.
Now that the product is ready both for students and in retail market at $35 (with $15 being borne by the government) while the retail version will be made available for $60 soon.
Here are some features which make it a far superior product manufactured by DataWind, a UK-based company.
– The tablet will sport a 7-inch touchscreen display with 800×480 pixel resolution, 256MB of RAM, two USB drives, a 2GB SD memory card and a 32 GB expandable memory slot.
– The processor’s capacity is 366 Mhz with Graphics accelerator and also HD Video processor.
– It will run on Google’s Android platform. Other features include PDF reader, video conferencing facilities and multi content viewer.
– It will have connectivity and networking with WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g and its battery will last 180 minutes and the adapter will come in 200-240 volt range that is used in India.
So, the question is what it does not have…
– Compared with $499 iPad 2, it lags behind in terms of display. iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display, a dual core A5 CPU, with more memory, and two new cameras.
– With 512MB of RAM in the iPad2, on the wireless front, it has a WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n) in a standard model or a Verizon 3G version, or an iPad of the AT&T / GSM variety.
– Bluetooth 2.1+EDR is on board, as is an AGPS chip in the 3G versions.
– All the iPad 2 models come equipped with an ambient light sensor, an accelerometer, and a three-axis gyroscope.
Now, it is clear what the students would like to have and what the government would like to give them. Aakash is much cheaper and affordable for many millions of Indians. It makes sense to sell it to more than confining it to brand-crazy few.
For details see: How to buy an Aakash tablet?