Aakash Tablet, the world’s cheapest tablet, was announced in 2011, and now, first quarter of this year is yet to end, despite majority of people in India are waiting to get their hand on the tablet. Last week, at National editors’ conference, Kapil Sibal, IT and Telecom Minister, said on the uncertain future of Aakash tablet that the project is ‘alive and kicking’, and also they are working on the third and fourth versions of one of the most hyped cheap tablets. Of course, the IT and Telecom minister’s statement might be mind energizer of many people, but for a huge mass, the project is still like a dream. This time, the minister’s statements also reveal that the government is now shifting its focus from children to all citizen of the country.
Why Is Indian Government So Desperate About Aakash Tablet Project?
However, just a day before Kapil Sibal’s announcement, HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju said that the Aakash Tablet was stuck with the production constraint. It’s really not surprising anyone, because people in the country have been listening to the same clarification since 2011. Indeed, the idea to provide low-cost computing device, at subsidized rate, to Indian students in order to access internet for educational purposes seems like a milestone. Interestingly, the manufacturing contract of Aakash Tablet was endorsed to DataWind, a British manufacturing and marketing company, and again, there’s a discussion to give the contract for the manufacturing of next versions–Aakash 3 and 4–to the same company.
Anyway, the first version of Aakash tablet was rolled out in October 2011, and the second version of the device was rolled out later in 2012. Last week, the telecom minister told in the editor’s conference that a committee has been set up which will work on the next generation Aakash 3 and Aakash 4 tablets. The committee comprises of head of CDAC, IIT (Bombay), IIT (Madras), and few others. In additions, 18 vendors are also willing to manufacture Aakash Tablet in India.
Could DataWind Supply 1 lakh Aakash Tablets To IIT Bombay By March End?
It’s clear from the statements of the telecom minister that Indian government wants to deliver public services via Aakash Tablet. In simple words, the government is trying to build a reliable platform to communicate with 1.2 billion people in the country, and they want to achieve this by the success of the world’s cheapest tablet. You might also be aware with the fact that DataWind will have to supply 1 lakh units of Aakash version 2 to IIT Bombay as of March end this year. But more importantly, till date, just 17,100 tablets have been delivered by the British manufacturing and marketing company to IIT Bombay. Do you think DataWind would supply rest of tablets in coming 3-4 days?
In the clarification, DataWind says, “29,400 devices are in transit to IIT Bombay through our logistics company and shall be delivered in the next few days and 23,500 devices are manufactured and at sub-contract manufacturers”.
Furthermore, the company has reportedly stated that it has scaled up the daily production of Aakash tablets, between 2,500 to 3,000 units every day. One of the astounding points is here, the second generation Aakash tablet is still struggling to get off the ground, while on other side, there’s a talk about the launch of Aakash 3 tablet. It’s said that the third generation Aakash Tablet would hit the ground in mid 2013. At present, people are little skeptical whether Indian government would make its promise true or not. It’s really tough to believe, but it’s true that Aakash tablet is currently considered as one of the most disappointing Indian government projects.
Finally, Take A Glimpse On Aakash 3 Specification:
As per specification posted on the DataWind website, the Aakash 3 tablet would be alike the Aakash 2. Both these tablets feature the same 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 4GB Internal storage (expandable via microSD), 512 MB RAM, a front 0.3 MP camera, and Android 4.0 ICS on-board. But one more additional feature you will get on Aakash 3 tablet that it would have SIM card slot for 2G and 3G connectivity. The device is expected to be launched at subsidized price tag of INR 2,500 (~$47), as the Ubislate 7C+, the tablet with similar specifications, is commercially available for INR 4,999 (~$94).