India’s President Pranab Mukherjee along with Datawind have finally taken the wraps off the Aakash 2 tablet, the follow-up the the popular low-cost device aimed at students in India called the Aakash.
The second-generation tablet will be sold to students for the price of Rs 1,130 or roughly US $20. The actual price, however, of the device is Rs 2,263, or roughly US $40 which is the cost that the government will pay the tablet’s maker, Datawind. However, the the Indian government subsidizes more than half of the price of the tablet, thus allowing students to acquire it for a much lower cost. According to Mukherjee, state governments may lower the price further by adding to the subsidy of the tablet. To date, one lakh or 100,000 units of the Aakash 2 are being prepared for delivery to engineering students.
The key specifications of the Aakash 2 tablet are a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal flash memory. It also comes with a battery that runs up to three hours on a single charge, and a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen display with support for four-point multitouch gestures. Moreover, it boasts of Android 4.0 operating system, Wi-Fi connectivity, a front-facing web camera, a USB port, and a microSD card slot with support for up to 32GB of extra storage should there be a need for memory expansion.
These are improvements over the list of specifications that came with the first Aakash, which had been widely criticized for its supposed poor performance due to its low-quality specifications. By comparison, the original Aakash tablet came with a 366 MHz processor, Android 2.3 operating system, and a 7-inch resistive touchscreen display.
The Aakash 2 tablet, like its predecessor, will be exclusively available for students. Datawind, however, has developed a commercial version of the Aakash 2, which it calls the UbiSlate 7Ci. Said slate retails for Rs 3,500 at Datawind’s website.