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World’s cheapest tablet PC “Aakash” launched in India

, October 5, 2011, 0 Comments

India’s Human Resources Development and Telecom  minister Mr. Kapil Sibbal today launched “Aakash” – world’s cheapest tablet PC here in New Delhi. The Tablet will cost the government Rs. 2,276. It will be given to students after subsidising the price by up to 50 per cent.

Joint Development

‘Aakash’ has been designed, developed and manufactured by Canada’s DataWind, in partnership with an educational institution, IIT Rajasthan, The product was designed  by DataWind between its centers in Montreal and India. IIT Rajasthan is coordinating the project, including firming up the specifications, and doing the field testing.

An Initial order for 1 lakh devices has been placed with device maker Datawind, Mr. Sibal said. The procurement order will be scaled up later with an aim to bringing down prices further. The first order of l lakh units will be executed from a factory in Hyderabad over the next six weeks and Government is expected to buy 8 million to 10 million units of the device by March 31, 2012.

Technical Specification

Tablet has 7-inch display with 800-by-480 pixel resolution, 256MB of RAM, 2GB flash storage, and a 366MHz processor from Connexant. The tablet runs on Android 2.2 operating system. The device will also have WiFi connectivity that could help boost internet usage in a country where it is currently dismally low. The configuration of tablet is adequate for most applications including HD quality video, reading books, and basic office applications, according to Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of DataWind. The company makes up for the lower speed of the processor by using compression acceleration technologies that shift a part of the processing during Web browsing from the device to the cloud. A disadvantage is that the tablet doesn’t support the Android Market place straight out of the box. Instead, the tablet will run the GetJar app store.

“Nano” of Tablet Industry

With its $50 price tag and fifty percent subsidized by government, at Rs. 1200 it seems it is a ‘Nano’ of Tablet industry where by most of advance features are being delivered at a historically low price. However fate of ‘Aakash’ as it names suggests would be able to achieve “Sky” high success  or will be a non starter like Tata Motors ‘Nano’, needs to be seen in coming days and months.