India has unveiled their attempt at the world’s cheapest tablet, which is being dubbed as a “Low Cost Access Device” or LCAD to allow students to access the world of information available online. Although the specs are nothing to boast off, the development of such a device in a market where innovation is just centred around using the most expensive latest hardware available is no mean feat. Follow us after the break.
The “Aakash”(meaning sky) tablet is India’s foray into the world of online education, through this the Indian ministry wants to achieve a goal of about 30% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER), which is a huge undertaking given that many of the remote corners of the country do not even have access to electricity. This device would bridge the digital divide, among the masses.
The device is being manufactured by Canadian firm DataWind, in India with the help of Quad industries. The motherboard has been designed by a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, which is the premier engineering college of India. Special content is also being prepared including online e-journals and ebooks to enable students gain access to useful study material for their stream of choice. Now let us have a look at its specs:
- Android 2.2 Froyo
- 7-inch, 800×480 resistive touchscreen
- 366MHz Conexant CPU, equipped with a video co-proceesor capable of playing 720p HD video.
- 256MB RAM
- 2 full sized USB ports
- 802.11 a/b/g Wifi (GPRS to come in later version at same cost)
Although the specs seem basic the device looks good with a matte finish and is easy to hold. The battery is supposed to last about 3 hours, which is a bit less than expected considering the slower CPU. Datawind the manufacturer behind the “Aakash” tablet also added that more features will be coming to the tablet in time keeping the price constant. At the unveiling event 500 students were given the device to be tested, so as to get feedback about where improvements can be made. A $7 keyboard case was also shown which makes use of the USB ports for connectivity.
The devices will be available to students at about $35 once production is underway, while for testing purposes about 3000 devices will be sent to each Indian state. The prices will be dropped to the goal of $10 as noted by Kapil Sibbal, Minister of HRD, when production of the components begin in India.
With this tablet India is not aiming to enter the tablet wars where the best hardware or software decides the winner, but just to make a device which would make it easier for the masses to access information on the go. This is a laudable goal, and we wish the best of luck to everyone involved in the project which might eventually revolutionize education in India if not the whole world.