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India unveils new version of 'world's cheapest tablet'


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India-Tablet-AFP-670 Indian President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee (4R) holds the new Aakash Version 2.0 tablet, at the National Education Day 2012 function to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in New Delhi on November 11, 2012. — Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: India has launched a new version of its ultra-low-cost tablet computer with a quicker processor and an improved battery, on sale to students at the subsidised price of $20.

The Aakash tablet, dubbed the world's cheapest computer, has been developed as a public-private partnership aimed at making computing technology available to students in a country where Internet usage is only at around 10 per cent.

Makers of the tablet, Britain-based Datawind, say the Aakash 2 is powered by a processor that runs three times faster than the original, has a bigger touchscreen and a battery with a life of three hours.

“Technology enabled learning is a very important aspect of education,” Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said Sunday at an official launch function.

“This must be adapted to our specific needs and introduced expeditiously in all educational institutions across the country,” he added.

The first version of the Aakash was launched by the government in October last year but it was marred by problems including a short battery life, initial long waiting lists and difficulties with distribution.

The paperback-book-sized Aakash 2, developed by Indian engineers at elite IIT public universities, runs the Google operating system Android 4.0 and has a screen measuring seven inches (18 centimetres) wide.

“Unlike the previous version which was a non-starter, this time around there are some functions and features around the Android tablet which make it a decent computing device for that price,” stated, an Indian website that analyses gadgets.

The first 100,000 devices will be sold to students at engineering colleges and universities at a subsidised price of 1,130 rupees (20 dollars) and subsequently Aakash 2 will be distributed to book stores in Indian universities.

Datawind says the commercial sale price without subsidies for Aakash 2 is 3,500 rupees (64 dollars).

Over 15,000 teachers at 250 colleges have been trained on the use of Aakash for education, according to India's human resource development ministry.

The country has nearly 115 million Internet users, giving it the the third-largest number in the world after China and the United States, but low penetration rates, data from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) shows.

Comments (49) Closed

Roney Indian Nov 13, 2012 08:21am
Pak needs reply back by building some schools... ;-P
Ara Nov 12, 2012 09:26pm
Don't be too harsh on a self proclaimed 'Nalaik'.
Ara Nov 12, 2012 09:06pm
Takhti? Takht or Takhta?
Azad India Nov 13, 2012 11:15am
DataWind was founded by two Indian brothers Suneet and Raja Tuli and in 2010 it won the an Indian govt. tender to design Akash Tablet Computer. It is co-developed by Datawind and IIT Rjasthan and now under manufacture by the Indian company, Quad. So I guess it is a right title!
Animesh Nov 14, 2012 07:20am
If its that easy why don't you start developing your own? What are you waiting for ?
Manu Nov 14, 2012 06:42am
Let us not derail the discussion on nationalistic lines. If Pak opens its market to Akash the product can be even cheaper and extend the benefit of education to many thousands more drawing the into constructive pursuits away from terrorism.
Nav Nov 12, 2012 05:08pm
DataWind was founded by two Indian brothers Suneet and Raja Tuli and in 2010 it won the an Indian govt. tender to design Akash Tablet Computer. It is co-developed by Datawind and IIT Rjasthan and now under manufacture by the Indian company, Quad. So I guess it is a right title!
SVadehra Nov 14, 2012 05:29am
Apple I-pad and I phones are made in China.
karamat Nov 13, 2012 01:15pm
Apple Created the OD and designed the hardware from scratch. The Apple Computer hardware / Software design is totally different from the IBM version and unique to Apple hence its own Identity. This Tablet is just another android unit using "off the shelf" (obsolete) components designed and manufactured elsewhere. Simplest analogy is a person putting together electric wire, bulb and a battery from the market and claiming he has designed a torch.
fair Nov 14, 2012 01:16am
Intoductory price of PAC-PAD 1 is Rs. 15500. Higher than many good models available. how can this be compared to worlds cheapest Pad?
ahmed Nov 12, 2012 04:45pm
did they not came up with Pakpad by AERO something company. what is the use of these pads/tabs except developing uselss apps for big marketers to sell their product. good education comes with the use of tools, and all these tools are only to access internet.
Ara Nov 13, 2012 10:31pm
Ara Nov 13, 2012 10:32pm
Where is the logic in it?
Ara Nov 13, 2012 10:25pm
Well said.
Ara Nov 13, 2012 10:24pm
Hey junior, when would you grow up?
Ara Nov 13, 2012 10:22pm
My dear neighbor, have you checked on the price of the PC's being supplied by Microsoft to the African students, or you were too busy reading and commenting on neighborly Newspapers? Maybe then you can find out how "teda" is the "aangan".
Asif Ali Nov 13, 2012 10:12pm
Guys , I am from Pakistan but you know a good thing is always appreciated . IT sector of India got a good thing done so we have to appreciate and tie with the IT Sector like Karachi to Banglore . I like this , can we get this in Dubai . Thanks to all . Asif Ali
Roney Indian Nov 13, 2012 04:40pm
Javed and Zeeshan and other Pak neighbours - you guys are clearly missing the point of this article and getting defensive and paranoid. This device was developed by couple of IIT Indians which is cost effective with much better specs than regular tablets. The govt has sponsored it so that students and govt institutions can benefit the education system and to take India to the next level. India is known as the IT hub of the world where 60% of US and UK infrastructure is managed by Indians ! Iam a IT Site lead myself in London hence can give u the facts. Manufacturing is always done by countries with which India has a contract with ! its got nothing to do with where the parts are manufactured or which OS it uses or who takes the credit. China manufactures all Apple products that does not mean that steve jobs is not the inventor. please grow up and start looking things in the right perspectives and come out of your lala lands..
Being Human Nov 13, 2012 11:46am
hahahahahahah PakPad...seriously ? its like replace "i" in ipad with "Pak". Atleast come up with an innovative name for gods sake.
GagnumStyle Nov 13, 2012 06:55am
I am an Indian,I think this is no great achievement,its Political stunt of the ruling part for the upcoming elections. As some one said its the British company which manufactured or invented it.Pakistan government too can pay money to the same British company and buy these tablets and distribute to school children and make itself popular in Pakistan if they want,it will help them in the coming elections.
Devil Nov 13, 2012 10:21am
By that logic every country is a colony of the other :-)
Krish Chennai Nov 13, 2012 02:51am
First see the market response, and the efficiency of the product vis-a-vis pricing, and just have it ordered and distributed by the millions in Pakistan. Simple !
Sam Nov 13, 2012 02:43pm
Ahmed, Internet is also used all over the world for educational purposes. Imagine a great teacher ( expert) talking about a subject which can be available to all schools in Pakistan or India at the same time. With a web based application like Skype, not only thousands of students benefit, but they can interact with teachers in real time. I think internet is an amazing tool to educate the masses in countries like ours and a inexpensive tablet (not requiring electricity to function) is the best possible tool to make it a reality.
Javaid Nov 12, 2012 05:59pm
Great response Zeeshan. Alas, you also did not do your research before posting. Here is researched version : The PAC-PAD 1 is the first version of an Android tablet computer developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra in collaboration with Hong Kong based INNAVTEK International. A succeeding model is being developed with cell phone network data connectivity. Shortly after the release of the PAC-PAD 1, its sister tablet PAC-PAD Takhti 7 was announced. The Takhti 7 has double the RAM and CPU speed of the PAD 1 and uses the latest Android IceCream Sandwich[2] operating system.
Being Human Nov 13, 2012 11:44am
Dear friend, India has developed a super computer Param 1000 on its own so what is there in a tablet. Even iphones are manufactured in China but still its an American product so its not about components but who pays for those and designs those matters and who said its an invention ? do you see that word anywhere in the article. Developments and invention are 2 different words in case you don't know.
Roney Indian Nov 13, 2012 11:11am
Dear Neighbour, Manufacturing of components is always done in countries with which India has manufacturing ties with. the point here is Indian students developed the cheapest tablet and it will be used in schools and colleges for students as an educational device, grow up and start looking things in right perspective !.. as the saying goes for you people "Naach na jaane aangan teda !"
Cyrus Howell Nov 13, 2012 03:56am
You get just what you pay for.
roger Nov 12, 2012 08:26pm
pac pad was built in collaboration with hong kong company....its better to call it china mobile.....and its not world's
Kumar Nov 12, 2012 07:32pm
Yes, it is not invention. But it needs skill and optimization. Credit goes to Google Android and some hardware experts.
Devil Nov 12, 2012 03:13pm
:) ! don't be too harsh!
ammariftikhar Nov 12, 2012 01:46pm
Datawind is "Britain-based" company and not Indian company, Govt. in Delhi has only invested in the project..... I just wonder if India is former British colony or current......?
Janjuah Nov 13, 2012 08:39am
Pakistan can never parallel India in many many ways... guess intelligent friend...
Goga Nalaik Nov 12, 2012 08:40am
Can we expect a similar invention from a Pakistani company ???
Jai Nov 12, 2012 08:49am
Proud to be Indian....
A Shah Nov 12, 2012 12:46pm
wow i want one or 10! this is what is called development.
Zeeshan Nov 12, 2012 01:05pm
This is not an invention.this is merely picking the cheaper hardware.The main piece is the software part which is google's android and is for free.In Pakistani market an extremely better version from chinese manufacturer AinoL is available for a mere 6000 rupees. Besides Pakistan Aeronautical complex have been producing a similar Tablet since summer 2011.its called get some time and do research before putting comments.
Zeeshan Nov 12, 2012 01:07pm
get out of your obsession and see Pakistan has already produced PakPad
Cherian (Melbourne) Nov 12, 2012 11:37am
While appreciating the efforts and good intentions of the makers of this tablet, I sincerely doubt whether engineering students are the right users to focus on, they would need powerful laptops at the least leave alone a tablet. High school students would have been a better target.
dararao Nov 12, 2012 11:08am
So its actual price is 64 dollars. How is that cheapest in the world??? In 64 dollars one can find a plenty of tablets with comparable or even better specs. And also if its made by british company and most probabily assembled in China. then "british company data wind launched one of the cheapest tablet for Indian market" is the right title.
Globetrotter Nov 12, 2012 10:57am
That`s Wonderful.....Education is the only thing to cling onto ......step in the right direction..I would say.
hakunamatata Nov 12, 2012 01:10pm
you still think Pakistan can parallels India?
srinivasa kumar mn Nov 12, 2012 08:22am
I am really excited to buy ... i dont know when will it enters the market...
Seeker Nov 12, 2012 03:04pm
You can interpret an event in any way as you like,until it helps the public that is good.
Seeker Nov 12, 2012 03:04pm
You can interpret an even in any way as you like.If it helps the public that is good.
raika45 Nov 12, 2012 09:46am
Will be interesting to know when will Pakistan follow suit.
123 Nov 12, 2012 02:16pm
the guy who developed this was my senior at college....................he is a 9.5 pointer......proud of him...
Condemned Nov 12, 2012 10:24am
What a great way to celebrate the birthday of a visionary like A.K. Azad. Live long India! You really realized and harnessed the potential of secularism the great Azad had envisioned.
Mustafa Razavi Nov 13, 2012 08:05am
Goga; Although a good effort, it can hardly be called an invention, in engineering we call it s System Integration project. I doubt if any of the components like the CPU, memory, screen. hard disk or even the battery can be manufactured in India. The components themselves are manufactured in the far east.
Parvez Nov 12, 2012 10:31am
What about the 'Takhti' developed by our Airforce engineers ? Why no interest shown by the relevant IT ministry or someone else.