The world’s cheapest tablet computer, as the Indian Government likes to call their Aakash tablet, is about to be upgraded to version 2.0, and will receive a significantly faster processor, clocked at 800 Mhz (up from 366 Mhz), longer battery life, and better “programming capability”. Hopefully that means it will receive Android 4.0, but I wouldn’t bet on it. At best, it’s probably Gingerbread.
The first Aakash tablet wasn’t the success Indian luminaries thought it would be. The UK company making the device, DataWind, was supposed to deliver 100,000 units to the Indian government, but that didn’t happen. A measly 572 devices have been deployed in fewer than 20 colleges so far. The authorities and the manufacturer hope that Aakash 2 would be the one to reach that initial goal, and production will start in July or August.
The Aakash 2 is supposed to cost $40, and since there’s no mention of the other components being upgraded, I would assume it has the same 800×480 resistive touchscreen display, only 256 MB of RAM, 2 GB of internal storage, and a 2100 mAh battery. The relatively small battery explains why the slate has such poor battery life for a 7-inch tablet, which would “normally” have a 4,000-5,000 mAh battery. Especially considering the poor state of the Indian electrical infrastructure, I think it would’ve been wiser to make the Aakash 2 more expensive by $10-$20 and add a bigger battery.
The resistive touchscreen also sounds like a blast from the past, but hopefully it won’t pose too many problems to Indian students. Aside from the low battery life, which might pose problems to students, unless they can charge them between classes, the Aakash 2 seems like a much needed improvement over the original Aakash. We just hope that Indian students will actually be able to use it this time around.