Digest: The government of India has introduced much hyped $35 (INR 1750) tablet PC for educational institutions and students. The tablet named “Aakash” (Aakash is Hindi word for “Sky”) will be available for general public at retail stores for an estimated sale price of $60 (INR 3000) starting November 2011.
The Government of India has plans to design and develop low cost tablet computers. The global OLPC project (One Laptop per Child Association, Inc., the Miami-based organization behind OLPC) definitely looked promising, however could not secure enough ground as they were only able to attract few state governments to join the OLPC program.
Few months back, Kapil Sibal, the Minister of Human Resource Development in India projected a low cost tablet PC for students; however everyone looked cynical about it… a reliable $35 tablet PC? With everyone’s hopes not too high, initially the project ran into predicament with HCL pulling out of manufacturing a low cost computing device. The tablet PC is designed & developed by engineers of IIT Rajasthan and a prototype of device was showcased on national television.
Kapil Sibal, Union Minister from Government of India officially launched the tablet PC on 5th October, 2011 which is called “Aakash” and is manufactured at Hyderabad facility of DataWind, a British company.
Here are device specs for the Aakash UbiSlate 7:
- 7” Resistive touch screen (800×480)
- Processor: 366 Mhz with Graphics accelerator and HD Video processor
- Memory (RAM): 256MB RAM
- Storage (Internal): 2GB Flash
- MicroSD card slot
- 1 USB port
- 3.5mm Audio in & out
- WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g
- Upto 180 minutes on battery
- Android 2.2 Froyo
- Document formats supported: DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, ODT, ODP
- PDF viewer, Text editor
- Supported audio formats: MP3, AAC, AC3, WAV, WMA
- Supported video formats: MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, FLV
The specifics of the program introduced by Government of India are:
- 500 students were handed the tablet on launch
- 100,000 more devices will be procured as part of the pilot
- 10 Million tablets at a per unit of price $36.6 to be purchased (via MediaNama)
- Seamless connectivity to provide Internet connection on the devices for institutes was talked about.
The government hopes to connect 416 universities and 20,000 colleges using BSNL as the service provider. The government claims 80% of the target connectivity has been achieved.
The government of India has sketched details around content creation meant for the tablet PCs use in education. Some of the guidelines to be followed are:
- It should be related to education delivery
- It should involve faculty from different institutions
- All IP (Intellectual Property) created under projects funded by this Mission will vest with MHRD
- All content should be created using open-source software
- All content created under this Mission is for open access by all and cannot be charged for in any way
The Aakash tablet PC will commercially be available starting November 2011 in retail stores around India at the estimated sale price of $60.
The device will officially be called “DataWind Ubislate” in the retail sector.