The story behind Aakash, India’s low cost tablet


New Delhi: Union Minister for Human Resourced Development, Shri Kapil Sibal, launched ‘Aakash’, a low cost access cum computing device on October 05, 2011. This device was also distributed among 500 children on the occasion. The Minister highlighted that Aakash will help in eliminating digital illiteracy. Kerala IT News takes a closer look at Aakash and the story behind this low cost tablet.

In 2009, the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) decided to task IIT Jodhpur with the job of procuring and testing a low cost tablet device based on the design and specifications that the Mission’s team had finalised. IIT Rajasthan followed an open tender process to ensure complete transparency and a level playing field.

On July 22, 2010, the Minister unveiled a device that was expected to cost around US$ 35. The lowest bidder quoted an ex-factory price of US$ 37.98 which was close to the cost mentioned by the Human Resource Ministry. This cost comprised of cost of components and material as well as manufacturing expenses. The final landed price of $ 49.98/unit (which translated to Rs.2,276 at the exchange rate at the time of the order) including taxes, levies, and charges like freight and insurance, servicing and documentation etc. The landed price also includes one-year free replacement warranty from the manufacturer

It needs to be mentioned that this price does not include any subsidy from the Government and is a price that has been arrived at following a commercial tender process. The Government will also be providing price subsidy to the students on the price indicated in the earlier paragraph. The device will be distributed to students through the institutions at which they are studying.

The development of this device has been done at Hyderabad by DataWind, a company founded by two NRIs with R&D facility in Canada and listed in UK. Currently, the tab uses around 35 percent component from South Korea, 25 percent from China, 16 from the US, 16 from India and rest from around the world. This unique device is meant for students across India. Using this device, and the connectivity also provided under this Mission, learners will be able to access all the thousands of items of content available on the Sakshat portal and other educational web-sites

This current phase was a pilot to procure 1,00,000 devices. This pilot helped in sorting out the production related issues. These devices are now being distributed to students all over the country so that they can be extensively tested in various climatic and usage conditions. The feedback obtained from the testing will form an input into the design of the next version of the device. This is important, as the numbers that the Mission needs to procure are very large. The production capacities of Indian manufacturers would also have to be substantially expanded to meet production requirements of a few million devices within a six-month time frame. Broadly speaking, future efforts will move in two directions – to achieve the same functionality at a lower cost and to achieve added capabilities at the same cost

Aakash UbiSlate 7 Specifications

Processor: 366 Mhz with Graphics accelerator and HD Video processor
Memory (RAM): 256MB RAM / Storage (Internal): 2GB Flash
Storage (External): 2GB to 32GB Supported
Peripherals (USB2.0 ports, number):  1 Standard USB port
Audio out: 3.5mm jack / Audio in: 3.5mm jack
Display and Resolution: 7” display with 800×480 pixel resolution
Input Devices: Resistive touch screen
Connectivity and Networking: WiFi IEEE 802.11 a/b/g
Power and Battery: Up to 180 minutes on battery.  AC adapter 200-240 volt range.

OS: Android 2.2
Document Rendering
Supported Document formats: DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, ODT, ODP
PDF viewer, Text editor
Multimedia and Image Display
Image viewer supported formats: PNG, JPG, BMP and GIF
Supported audio formats: MP3, AAC, AC3, WAV, WMA
Supported video formats: MPEG2, MPEG4, AVI, FLV
Communication and Internet
Web browser – Standards Compliance: xHTML 1.1 compliant, JavaScript 1.8 compliant
Separate application for online YouTube video
Safety and other standards compliance
CE certification / RoHS certification 
Other: Additional Web Browser: UbiSurfer-Browser with compression / acceleration and IE8 rendering. 

Kerala IT News


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