With Aakash 3 already in the works, what happened to the Aakash 2?

aakash 3

The Aakash tablet, the $35 Android tablet, was the pet project of former HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, whose vision was to ensure the availability of a tablet for every Indian student, at a very budget-friendly price point. While the idea itself is amazing, the execution has been lacking. The Aakash tablet had a lot of issues, and while the Aakash 2 announcement was more promising, it has hit a snag as well.

So with a change in leadership, with M M Pallam Raju taking over, the first question on everyone’s mind is whether this project will continue, especially after the difficulties with production and shipment Datawind, the manufacturer of the Aakash tablet, has faced.  Yesterday, Datawind CEO Sunit Singh Tuli decided to address the concerns regarding the Aakash 2 shipments, and released the following statistics -

  • 17,100 units have been shipped to IIT-Bombay
  • 29,400 devices are on the way and should arrive in the next few days
  • 23,500 are manufactured and pending shipment

Of course, this still falls far short of the promised shipment of 100,000 units by March 31, which is now only a few days a way. Datawind says that “Of the remaining 30,000 units, the mother boards including touch screens and all other components are manufactured, and final assembly is being completed, which is expected within the next couple of weeks.” Obviously, meeting the deadline is out of the question, but at least things are moving along. Sunit Singh Tuli also commented that the company has scaled up the production to between 2,500 to 3,000 units a day.

While the Aakash 2 is still waiting get off the ground, there is already talk of the third generation Aakash tablet, which is expected to launch mid-2013. According to the specifications available on the Datawind website, the Aakash 3 will be very similar to the Aakash 2, with the same 1Ghz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage expandable via microSD, a front 0.3 MP camera, and Android 4.0 ICS on-board. The only noticeable difference between the two will be the addition of a SIM card slot for 2G and 3G connectivity. A device with similar specifications is already available from Datawind, the Ubislate 7C+, which is commercially available for Rs 4,999 (~$94), so we can expect a Rs 2,500 (~$47) price tag including the government subsidy for Indian students.

Honestly at this point, while its good that the project seems to be going ahead, consumers need to see results, because its been all talk till now. We knew that the project was ambitious and difficult to implement, but consumers, and especially students that were supposed to gain the most out of this, have been left disappointed and angry time and time again, and there’s only so many times we can say “hopefully things will get better soon.”

What are your thoughts? Will Datawind be able to manage its Aakash 2 pre-orders and finally ship the devices to everybody? What do you think of the specifications of the Aakash 3? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post With Aakash 3 already in the works, what happened to the Aakash 2? appeared first on Android Authority.

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

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?

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Aakash 2 Tablet Features Specifications & Availability Plans from Govt

Aakash 2 tabletThe “Aakash” name for the low cost Android tablets was given by the Indian govt. and the device was made especially for the students in the IT sector, but later on the manufacturer Datawind broke relations… after insufficient number of devices were delivered on the promised time, and then they kept launching the tablet devices with the brand name Ubislate.

(This is a preview of the article from Android Advices Click on the Title to read the entire entry.)

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The Datawind Ubislate 7Ci tablet sells for $40 but can it compete?

The India-bound Aakash tablet made waves in the technology media for its dream of providing cheap tablets to the educational sector (among others) in this developing market. The tablet also drew flak for its creator’s inability to adequately meet demand. But will the cheap tablet trend catch on with the rest of the world?

Never mind the poor specifications of the original 2011 device, which featureda mere 366 MHz CPU and a resistive screen. Whatever criticisms against it, including the lackluster specifications, low camera quality, small onscreen keyboard and build quality, can all be answered with “Yeah, but … it’s only $40,” as NY Times columnist Quentin Hardy writes.

Since then, Datawind has released updated tablets, the latest being the Ubislate 7 series, which comes with upgraded specs, while still retaining low prices.

Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli says that those who have expressed criticism against the tablet’s low-end specs are not their market, anyway. “The biggest problem we have with this device is that none of the decision makers, the reviewers, or the trend setters are our customer.” He is confident that their latest Ubislate 7Ci tablet can be relevant among its target market, especially given its price. “Personal computers caught on in the U.S. when the price got to about 25 percent of the average person’s monthly income. In India, where people make $200 a month, that is about $50.”

Datawind produces the 7Ci tablets for $37 apiece, and then sells these to the Indian government for $40. There is hope that other markets can also enjoy inexpensive or even free tablets, but these are likely to be subsidized by advertisements. For instance, the Google Nexus 7 is already considered cheap its for $199 entry level price in the U.S. However, this can still be brought down to $49 in two years’ time, says an analyst from Gartner.

But are cheap tablets the way to go for emerging markets? With emerging trends like cloud computing, it seems so. Cheap access to mobile Internet does away with the need to have super-fast processing capabilities and paid software suites. For as long as a tablet can do what’s expected — email, web browsing, social networking, e-book reading, and the occasional game — it seems users can overlook poor specs and build for as long as the user experience is good enough.

Still, the basic problem of Datawind is supply. The brand is already being criticized for delayed orders which can run into multiple months. In their defense, though, Datawind has even supplied its buyers with upgraded models at no extra cost. Datawind still does not have mass-production capabilities that can equal the likes of the makers of the iPad and the Nexus 7.

Once they do improve their mass-manufacturing capabilities, then products like these have the potential to be really game-changing, especially in giving mobile computing access to folks who could otherwise not afford a more expensive device. Until then, we do have an inexpensive tablet that does work as intended, but not everyone can get their hands on this $40 gem due to supply constraints.

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Aakash 2 tablet arriving next month in India for $35

We’ve heard about the Aakash tablet series before. The original Aakash was a surprisingly decent tablet for how cheap it was, and the company has now announced that the Aakash 2 will be releasing in India next month on the anniversary of the original Aakash tablet’s release.

The Aakash 2 is currently being supplied to students at the India Institute of Technology in Bombay and has been for the past month and a half. DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli plans to officially launch the device on October 5, the anniversary of the release of the original Aakash tablet. The company plans to manufacturer around 220 million units to distribute across India.

The Aakash 2 Tablet (formerly known as the Ubislate 7+) has a 7-Inch display, an ARM Cortex-A8 processor clocked at 1 GHz, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a front-facing camera, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread to top it all off. It also has a SIM slot for phone capabilities, as well as a microSD card slot to expand storage space.

The tablet is being supplied to students for free, and will cost around INR 2000 (approx. $35) at retail stores in India. Apparently, the company has already received an additional 5.5 million orders for the new tablet from general customers, and they also plan to give Ice Cream Sandwich updates to those who pre-ordered.

[via TechSnapr]

Datawind unveils four new India-bound UbiSlate tablets, to start at $55 with ICS and 1 GHz CPU

The Datawind name might not say much to those of you passionate about high-end gadgets, but the UK-based company has been behind the Indian government’s bold initiative of deploying Android-based tablets across the country’s millions of schools .

The 2011 dirt-cheap Aakash tablet was the result of the collaboration between Datawind and the Indian government, but unfortunately their noble endeavor hit more than a few nasty bumps on the road.

After numerous production issues and a bunch of delays and staggered releases, the Aakash failed to reach the hundreds of thousands of students it was planned to. It was back to the drawing board for Datawind, which understood that it had to up the ante a bit spec-wise.

Fortunately, the Indian authorities didn’t withdraw their support, and now the updated Aakash 2 is ready to debut. Before the tab will hit schools though, Datawind has decided to get the commercial versions out, also known as the UbiSlate tablets.

The UbiSlate 7Ri, 7R+, 7Ci, and 7C+ are the four newly unveiled slates, all sporting 7-inch screens and all ready to go on sale at unbelievably low prices. Though we don’t have many photos starring the four tabs, these shouldn’t look very different on the outside, and their innards will be similar as well.

All four gadgets are set to be powered by Cortex A8 1 GHz processors, which, despite being single-core, are a vast improvement over the first-edition Aakash. The model from 2011 only had a 366 MHz CPU, so the bump in raw power will be easily noticeable. Especially that the 256 MB of RAM have been also upgraded to 512 MB.

The displays all come with 800 x 480 pixels resolutions, but only the UbiSlate 7Ci and 7C+ will have capacitive panels (hence the “C” branding). The 7Ri and 7R+ will sport resistive screens, which, as you might know, aren’t very responsive to touch.

Aside from the processor bump, the new range of UbiSlate tablets comes with another major upgrade, this time in the software department. If the 7-incher from last year ran old raggedy Android 2.2 Froyo, the new gadgets are all ready to bring Ice Cream Sandwich goodness to India.

Other features include 4 GB of on-board storage, a VGA front-facing camera, G-Sensor, mini-USB, a microSD card slot for expanding the memory with an additional 32 GB, and Wi-Fi connectivity all-around. The 7R+ and 7C+ come with additional GPRS connectivity, and they should also be the tabs with the best battery life. Well, best is somewhat of a stretch, giving that Datawind predicts the slates to only be able to go for up to 3-4 hours on a single charge, while the 7Ri and 7Ci have a maximum of 3 hours of autonomy.

Datawind has failed to announce any exact release dates for the four 7-inchers, while in terms of pricing we know that the cheapest one will go for Rs. 2,999 ($55), and the most expensive one will be up for grabs for Rs. 4,999 ($90). We’re guessing the 7Ri will be the low-ender, while the 7C+ will be the high-ender. As for the 7R+ and 7Ci, these don’t have price tags attached to their names, but they will probably be made available for Rs. 3,999 ($73).

It remains to be seen which one of the four will also hit Indian schools as the Aakash 2, when will this actually reach students, and how many units will end up being used for educational purposes.

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Datawind unveils two more Aakash / Ubislate tablet models, India’s Aakash 2 tablet now costs $40, receives hardware upgrade in version 2.0, SOLD OUT — Cheapest Tablet in the World

This article, Datawind unveils four new India-bound UbiSlate tablets, to start at $55 with ICS and 1 GHz CPU , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.

Datawind Launches 4 New Upgraded Ubislate 7Ri, 7R+, 7Ci & 7C+ Aakash Tablets

One of the most talked tablet not only in India but several parts of the world apart from the Apple iPad was the Aakash tablet as it was the cheapest Android tablet in the market. But it was quickly overlooked as the whole project completely failed adding as another scam in the Indian political failures.…

(This is a preview of the article from Android Advices Click on the Title to read the entire entry.)

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Aakash 2 tablet still coming, to cost only $21 for Indian students and $65 for other users

After what was not exactly a big hit, many wondered if one of the world’s cheapest tablets will ever get a sequel. Made available to Indian students for the equivalent of $23, the Aakash slate was heavily criticized for its poor hardware by some, while being praised by many for giving access to technology at such a low price.

The general opinion of tech lovers was that the technology world would benefit from the launch of an Aakash 2 tablet, provided that the manufacturer was able to up the ante in terms of specs, without bumping up the price.

And as hard as such a task may be, the Aakash 2 is inching ever closer to its release. We first heard about the new tab back in April and then in June, but the device has undergone a few important changes.

First off, the price of the Aakash has been brought down even more than we initially reported, and it now seems that Indian students will get their hands on the Aakash 2 for only 1,132 rupees (around $21). That’s right, ladies and gents, for just 21 bucks (paid for by schools), young Indian people with a thirst for technology will be able to use an Android-based 7-incher that doesn’t look that bad spec-wise.

The tab won’t be available only to students, unlike the first Aakash, and a commercial version, called UbiSlate, will apparently be sold for between 3,499 and 4,299 rupees ($65-80). That’s still not a whole lot, giving the limited number of decent tablets you can purchase these days for less than a hundred bucks.

As for specs and features, after a few changes of plans and tweaks, the final version of the Aakash 2 will come much better equipped than the first-edition of the tab. Right as we reported back in June, the 7-incher will be powered by a single-core 800 MHz Cortex-A8 processor and will feature 256 MB of RAM and a 2,100 mAh battery capable of running for around 3 hours between charges.

Unlike what we knew then, though, the new Aakash will sport a glossy capacitive touchscreen with a 800 x 480 pixels resolution, which should provide a much smoother navigation than the old resistive panel, but also crisper colors and better viewing angles.

A GPRS modem and a SIM card slot will be another two new exciting features of the Aakash 2, which will come in two versions, with either 2GB or 4GB of internal storage. In either case, there’ll be a microSD card slot for expanding the memory, too.

Unfortunately, the design and the tab’s software are still set to disappoint. The Aakash 2 will come with the same rubberized black plastic that looked shallow and tacky on the first Aakash, while Android 2.3 Gingerbread doesn’t sound very cool either. There were some reports a while back that the new tab might get an ICS update soon after its release, but there’s no word about anything like that now.

Talking about release, we know nothing official on that front, but 100,000 units of the Aakash 2 are expected to hit Indian schools “over the next six months”, so it shouldn’t be much longer now.

What do you guys think of Aakash 2′s supposedly final spec sheet and pricing? Would you ever be interested in buying such a tablet? Is it too expensive? Too modestly specced?

This article, Aakash 2 tablet still coming, to cost only $21 for Indian students and $65 for other users , was originally published at AndroidAuthority.com - Your Android News Source.

Aakash Tab 2 will be Available for $ 21 via Student Discount

The much talked and strongly failed tablet by Indian manufacturer is still a mystery. With Indian Government  looking to launch the upgraded version of the Aakash… for the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). Relation between the earlier manufacturer of Aakash tablet, Datawind and HRD of India has grown worst as HRD claimed that Datawind has supplied them with the faulty tablets and Datawind claimed that due to non payment of agreed amount, Datawind left the project uncompleted.

(This is a preview of the article from Android Advices Click on the Title to read the entire entry.)

Two more Aakash Tablet models headed for India

The new crop of ultra-cheap reader tablets have nothing on the Ubislate/Aakash, Datawind’s dirt-cheap tablet for the Indian educational market. In addition to the slightly updated Ubislate 7+, the Ubislate 7C will soon grace shelves and schoolrooms on the subcontinent. The only difference between the two is that the 7+ uses a resistive touchscreen while the 7C uses a more modern capacitive model – the same kind that’s installed on pretty much every smartphone and tablet out there.

Both tablets get a 7-inch, 800×480 screen, an 800mhz single-core processor, 256MB of RAM and Android 2.2 Froyo. The retail versions of the tablet bring the price up to the Indian equivalent of about $75 – still a pretty good deal if all you want is a slate device for some (very) basic web surfing and media. The Ubislate comes standard with a 2.5G wireless connection on top of WiFi, but users can add 3G with a dongle accessory.

The Ubislate/Aakash has garnered a lot of international attention, though admittedly nearly all of it is from the price. With government subsidies, Indian students can purchase one of the small tablets for just $35, and the popularity has exploded. Future models will reportedly even get Android 4.0 – which is more than we can say for a lot of smartphones and tablets around these parts.

[via TheMobileIndian]