Following last week’s announcement made by the Minister of Communications and IT, Kapil Sibal, the Indian Government’s $35 computing device, which has been named Aakash has finally been unveiled.

The Android based tablet has been designed, developed and manufactured by DataWind in collaboration with IIT Rajasthan, under the HRD Ministry’s National Mission on Education through Information & Communication Technology (NME-ICT).

According to a press statement, the Government is buying 100,000 tablets from DataWind for Rs 2,250 or $45.5 (approx), per unit inclusive of taxes and freight charges. The tablet will be available to post-secondary students, and the Indian Government intends to deliver 10 million tablets at a target price of Rs 1,750 per unit, which has also been agreed upon by the manufacturer. The device has been made at DataWind’s facility at Hyderabad.

Although the Minister did mention that masses of course content had been web-enabled for free distribution and over 1,000 institutions have been equipped with high-speed WiFi internet access, details about content delivery, partnerships, and time lines were not discussed.

Device Specs and Features

The device is essentially a 7 inch Android 2.2 based tablet, which offers data connectivity through WiFi, expandable memory via an SD card slot (a 2GB card is included), in addition to 2GB internal Flash memory, and full size USB Ports allowing the use of plug-in devices such as Pen-drives and internet dongles. The device sports a 366 Mhz Conexant processor, 256MB RAM, and also has an HD video co-processor for multimedia and core graphics accelerator for faster application support. The touch screen however, is resistive, which we believe, is to facilitate the use of styli for making notes.

The tablet also bundles DataWind’s UbiSurfer browser, which, according to the company is based on 18 international patents and accelerates web pages by factors of 10x to 30x. It also includes the Nimbuzz app, for social networking and instant messaging.

Mass Market Commercial Tablet

DataWind has also announced a commercially available mass market tablet, called UbiSlate, which will be available starting November 2011, at an MRP of Rs 2,999. The tablet will also feature a cellular modem, allowing users to make calls and access data, through the device.


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