While most competitors in the tablet market are falling all over each other to become the next ‘iPad killer’, the Indian Aakash tablet is taking a different approach.
According to Gearburn, the device already has over 300 000 pre-launch bookings for its commercial version – which goes on sale in December 2011. Why? Well, the Aakash tablet (also known as the Ubislate) is launching at a price of Rs3 000 [+- $55] – that’s just about R400! Manufactured in the UK by Datawind, it is subsidized by the Indian government. The Aakash, which means “sky” in Hindi, is targeted firmly at urban college students in a bid to provide a low-cost, simple computing device that will improve IT access for the country’s population.
Coming in at 7-inches, this Android-based tablet was first launched in October 2011, with 10 000 devices going to the Indian government’s National Mission for Education. Aakashes are already being used by college and university students from across India – with the commercial launch set to push usage to top the projected user mark of 250 000 . Gearburn reports that in order to help with adoption, Datawind has sourced a mobile Internet provider that is willing to offer a data plan at Rs99 ($2) per month to allow users to connect to the Internet with the tablet, which has both Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities.
A review of the Aakash tablet was published by Venturebeat – which included these notable points among others: it has no built-in speakers or microphone, but comes with jacks for both. It uses a resistive touch screen and only runs a 366MHz ARM processor with 256MB RAM. Its internal operating system is stored on a 2GB flash disk, and it ships with a 2GB MicroSD card for storage.
It does, however, provide everything that a user needs to browse the Web and perform most basic online tasks, including watching internet video clips. This allows students to easily access online resources and study materials and to network with others.
Click here for the full Venturebeat review.