President Pranab Mukherjee today unveiled the much-awaited ultra low-cost Aakash 2 tablet PC at an event in New Delhi. Designed, developed and manufactured by DataWind, the Aakash tablet, also dubbed as the Aakash 2.0, will be available to students at a subsdised price of Rs. 1,130. DataWind is supplying the Aakash tablet to the Indian government at Rs. 2,263 per unit.
The launch, held on the occasion of the National Education Day, was part of a two-day workshop conducted by IIT Bombay for teaching faculties in engineering colleges using remote training applications developed at IIT Bombay’s Open Source development lab. The Aakash 2 platform has been developed by IIT Bombay that includes 3D-modelling, C++ programming, remote and collaborative training applications, robotic control and live assessment tools. IIT Bombay has partnered with the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), to assist with the hardware testing and logistics.
In the first phase, DataWind is going to supply 100,000 units of Aakash 2 to IIT Bombay, which intends to distribute them to Engineering University and College students in the country.
Specifications of the Aakash 2 tablet are as follows: 7-inch multi-touch 4-point capacitive display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, 512 MB of RAM, Cortex A8 1 GHz processor, 4GB built-in storage, microSD card slot that supports storage up to 32 GB, micro USB, Wi-Fi b/g/n and a 3,000 mAh battery. The included accessories are wall charger, USB Adapter, USB cable and USB Hub (4port).
The commercial version of the Aakash 2 unit is branded as the UbiSlate 7Ci, and is available for purchase on DataWind’s website. “We wish to use technology to fight poverty with a passion. Access to computers and internet will help deliver a better quality education and level the playing field for all Indians,” says DataWind CEO Sunit Singh Tuli.
According to reports, the government has shortlisted 244 engineering colleges in the country that will work as remote centres for “Aakash in Education” programme, coordinated by IIT-Mumbai under the National Mission on Education through ICT (NME-ICT). The programme will cover all engineering colleges in due course.
The Subrao Nilekani Chair Professor at IIT Bombay, Dr. Deepak B. Phatak, heads the project at IIT Bombay with the support of C-DAC. Professor Phatak says “I’m not only confident, but sure that Aakash 2.0 is here to stay.”
NME-ICT Director, N.K.Sinha adds, “We envision all 220 million students across India to be enabled by low cost Aakash devices in the coming years.”