Aakash 2 tablet officially unveiled, to cost only $21 for Indian students

November 12, 2012

If there’s one thing we’ve always known about technology in general and Android devices in particular, that was their potential for greatness and ability of breaking boundaries and pushing education forward.

Unfortunately, while we’ve seen numerous noble endeavors planned and scheduled in the last few years to make mobile technology available to the masses and especially towards educational purposes, these have all had one thing in common – they’ve been bound for failure.

We all remember the initial excitement surrounding the Aakash, an Android tablet that the Indian government promised was going to be available to millions of students across the country for the equivalent of $35. And we also remember that nothing went as planned

It was thus only natural to be skeptical when we heard that an Aakash 2 tab was in the works, with our suspicions growing while plans were being changed and deadlines moved back and forth. Still, it seems that the second gen slate will become reality after all and it will actually be everything the first gadget was supposed to and more.

Not only will the Aakash 2 price be extremely competitive for Indian students – just INR 1,132, or $21 – but it will also come with a significantly upgraded spec sheet. Now don’t be expecting any quad-core power or a “Retina” display out of this baby!

Instead, what students will be getting is a single-core 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor, 512 MB of RAM, a 7-inch capacitive display with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, 4 GB of on-board storage, microSD support, USB 2.0, a 3,000 mAh battery, Wi-Fi, and a VGA front-facing camera. On top of it all, there’ll be Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, though we don’t really know if this will be customized or forked in any way.

Let me stop you right there and tell you that I know what you’re thinking. That spec sheet has 2010 written all over it. And anyway you look at that CPU, or the display, or the battery, they’re all definitely lower end than low end. But at $21 they’re pure gold! Not to mention that the Aakash 2 will be an educational device, meaning users won’t or shouldn’t be worried about how smooth will Need for Speed: Most Wanted run on the tab.

Unlike the first Aakash, this second tablet is not planned to reach “millions” of students right away. However, there are already 244 Indian engineering colleges that should receive a limited number of slates over the next weeks and that will work as the first remote centers for the “Aakash in Education” program. Much less ambitious, but it’s definitely a start, right?

As for outsiders, these can already purchase their own dirt-cheap tablets, though non-students will have to cough up some extra dough. The UbiSlate, as the Aakash 2 is known outside colleges, goes for Rs. 4,499 ($82), with the exact same spec sheet as the educational tab, or for Rs. 3,499 ($64), with a resistive screen replacing the capacitive panel.

Another two models, the UbiSlate 7R+ and 7C+ should go on sale soon, being at this time only available for pre-order, at Rs. 3,999 and Rs. 4,799. None of the four tabs can be purchased from outside India.

So, what do you guys think of the Indian government’s insistence with this bold and noble Aakash project? Will they do it this time around? How about the commercial versions of the tab, do you want them to make it outside India?

Comments

  • 8Charlie

    Awesome that they’re providing this to students for only $21. I’d like to have one, haha. Reminds me of the “OLPC” project. Great idea and it could eventually lead to a lower total cost of getting an education in India. To have to cough up at least $200 for a laptop/nettop could be too high of a threshold for some Indian students. So this seems like a pretty interesting idea, hopefully it’s good enough to check out presentation slides, read articles and (with a add-on keyboard) even write up/edit short articles.
    I use my GNex to do some last-minute reading/editing on my GNex all the time.

    • Rile8chra

      Good for u 8Charlie… Good for u!

      • 8Charlie

        Hehe, not really. I’m not Indian student, nor am I Indian, nor am I from or in India. So I doubt I’ll ever see that tablet in real life, haha. Living in Netherlands, it seems as if we only get $600+ tablets here. I haven’t even seen a Nexus7 here and there’s no word of the Nexus4 coming here either. Sucks.

  • akhil

    me akhil, student from kerala.. how can i get Aakash2?

    • AKASH the lifesaver

      Contact M.S Madhavan from the Travanacore Secretariat. And tell him DEFCON 4. Its a code name for the tablet. He is directly affiliated with the distribution of the tablets in all UG colleges in Kerala. He was directly appointed by the President of the Ullambara, Trivandrum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vmgautam Vikram Maniram Gautam

    Piece of Shit … The Project is Dead since launch date …

  • bcsc

    With a 7 inch non HD screen, 512mb ram and 1ghz processor, is this not the iPad mini.? No, really? This thing has neat identical specs.

  • ankit mongia

    how can i get one? ….i am a student in haryana

  • ramesh

    plz tell me how can i get one for me…rammyslove@gmail.com

  • priyanka

    Pllzz let me knw hw cn i have it.? im a govt studnt. plzh mail mr…
    kamalverma772@gmail.com

  • Pawan shina

    i am a engineering student , how can i buy aakash 2 tablet and from where. mail me at pawanshina19294@gmail. com. my no. 8802756859