Monday, 30 January 2012

Andhra Pradesh to order 10,000 Aakash tablets to promote e-learning

The Aakash has been getting mixed reactions lately. Although, there are a few alternatives to Aakash available in the market as we suggested earlier, no tablet can beat the price (yet), especially the subsidized Rs. 1500 mark. The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to arm its students with the tablet. A proposal has been sent by the state government to the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. On approval, AP plans to order 10,000 tablets. The first phase would reach out to state universities, engineering and polytechnic colleges, while the next is expected to reach students of private colleges.
Visibly pleased students with the Aakash tablet at the launch
Visibly pleased students with the Aakash tablet at the launch

“Once we get the approval, we will implement the scheme. We are planning to procure 10,000 tablets. Initially, they will be made available to the students in the state universities, engineering and polytechnic colleges,” State Commissioner of Technical Education S Balasubramanyam said.

Aakash which began as an educational initiative, also has its commercial counterpart from Datawind. From the time it has launched last year, everyone had been raving about this project by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal. It aimed at bridging the digital gap between the rich and the poor. However, Aakash project was also said to have hit hurdles due to the underperformance of the device. The Aakash runs on the Android 2.2 with a 366MHz processor and has been accused of issues related to its battery life and more. The upgraded version which is on the way and was supposed to start shipping by now, has been enhanced with a 700MHz processor, better battery and runs on Android 2.3. 

“The HRD Ministry had asked the state to submit details about the number of Aakash tablets initially required. We plan to procure 10,000 tablets in the beginning,” Balasubramanyam said. The state government is waiting for the next generation of Aakash for further orders.

The Aakash has already received about 2 million pre-booking orders. For students who cannot buy the tablet, the government plans to provide the tablet on rent in colleges and university libraries. The Ubislate 7+ (an upgraded version of Aakash) is available for pre-order here.

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