Next generation 'Aakash' tablets for Andhra students at Rs 1,500

In a bid to promote e-learning in the state, the Andhra Pradesh government plans to provide ‘next generation Aakash’ tablets to students at a subsidised price of Rs 1,500.

A proposal has already been sent to the Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry.
“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 of  the state universities, engineering and polytechnic colleges,” the State Commissioner of Technical Education, S Balasubramanyam said.

The second phase of the scheme will see students of private colleges in the state reaping the benefits. The Union HRD Ministry is monitoring the implementation of ‘Aakash’ project. Billed as the world’s cheapest tablet, ‘Aakash’ was launched by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal in October last year. The tablet has been designed with an aim to bridge the “digital divide” between the rich and the poor.

Over the next five years, the Centre plans to provide the tablets to 20 crore students.
“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,’ expected to be released in April. Plans are afoot to rent out the tablets to college and university libraries for students who can not afford to buy.

The tablet, with a seven-inch touch screen, weighs  350 grams. It runs on Android operating system. There are reports that the existing Android 2.2 has a series of faults. This apart, reports about the tablet’s poor battery backup have also emerged recently.
In response, ‘Aakash’ manufacturer Datawind has decided to launch an improved version with a 766 MHz processor and a longer battery life.

Nonetheless, the product has been welcomed with an overwhelming response, with over two million online orders being placed till January 25.

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