Aakash is the name given to the low-cost tablet computers being procured by the Indian government to help enhance the quality of education. It is envisioned that computing and internet access used in a blended learning environment will empower both students and teachers. The Indian government has laid out a vision to equip all 220 million students across the country over the next few years with such products.
Launched on October 5th, 2011, the first version of Aakash was designed, developed and manufactured by DataWind based on the specifications set by IIT Rajasthan. It’s ‘jaw dropping’ price garnered global attention and helped spur the low cost tablet computer industry. For supply to students, the government not only waives duties and taxes, but also further subsidizes the cost by 50%.
Launched on November 11th, 2012 by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, the second version of Aakash is designed, developed and manufactured by DataWind based its proposed improvements to Aakash 1. The product is currently being supplied to IIT Bombay, who in turn is tasked with application development, content integration, field testing and deployment. The reviews for Aakash 2 have been very strong globally and on November 28th, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launched it at the United Nations in New York.
The commercial version of Aakash 2 is offered in the Indian market as the UbiSlate 7Ci.
The third generation of Aakash is expected to be launched in mid-2013. The specifications are expected to be finalized by the NMEICT (National Mission for Education through Information Communication Technology) before end of March 2013. DataWind recommends that Aakash 3 also include an embedded cellular modem, allowing it to take a regular SIM and provide anytime/anywhere internet connectivity.
On the basis of recommended specifications submitted for Aakash3, Datawind has commercially launched the UbiSlate 7C+ at an aggressive price of Rs. 4,999.