Union minister Kapil Sibal has said that an upgraded version of the Aakash tablet will be launched at the same price of the original Aakash tablet in April this year. Sibal said this while responding to a question in Lok Sabha during question hour today. The minister also revealed that DataWind, the company spearheading the Aakash I project, will be supplying one lakh high speed tablets with a longer battery life and improved screen.
Speaking about the new features, the minister add that the improved Aakash tablet will feature a 700MHz Cortex A8 processor, 3,200 mAh battery with three-hour usage time and a capacitative touchscreen, which were missing in the original Aakash tablet. The minister further said that the first phase of the project mainly focussed on students in higher technical educational institutions so that the government received technical feedback on the performance of the tablet.
On demands to provide the Aakash tablet to school students, Sibal said the same would be done after National Mission of Education through ICT for Schools received funds. The minister further said that the Aakash tablet project would prosper after the government builds production capacities and policies for distribution of the device with a special focus on students from marginalised sections of society.
The Aakash tablet is one of the most ambitious projects of the Indian government. The low-cost device is aimed at bridging the digital divide in the country. The Indian government, however, had a bitter experience with DataWind, as the company failed to provide a tablet that stood up to IIT's test criteria. The government has already faced heavy criticism over the Aakash fiasco.