Pranab launches improved Akash-2 tablet

Pranab launches improved Akash-2 tablet

An advanced version of the low-cost tablet computer, Aakash-2, was launched here on Sunday for students of higher education in the country.

The much-awaited access-cum-computing device was unveiled by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function organised by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to mark National Education Day on the birth anniversary of India’s first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

The first one lakh upgraded device will be provided to students of technical institutes and universities at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,130. Aakash-2 has been developed jointly by IIT Bombay and C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing). The product has been rolled out by Datawind, a London-based company. "The price is Rs 2,263 at which the government purchases the device from us. The government subsidises it by 50 per cent and it will be distributed to students at Rs 1,130," said CEO of Datawind Suneet Tuli.

Compared with the previous version of the tablet which was powered by a 366 MHz processor, Aakash-2 is engineered with a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor. It has a seven-inch capacitive display with four multi-touch points and screen resolution 800×480 pixels. The previous version of Aakash had a seven-inch resistive touch screen.

The first version of Aakash, which was dubbed the world’s cheapest tablet PC by former HRD Minister Kapil Sibal at various forums, was launched in October last year. After receiving complains about its poor performance, the ministry decided to bring out an upgraded version and assigned the task to IIT Bombay and C-DAC.

15,000 teachers trained

The device will be used by teachers in classroom teaching. Over 15,000 teachers at 250 colleges have already been trained on the use of Aakash. Students who will get the device will also be trained to develop applications and content through team projects, a ministry official said.

The new version of the tablet PC can also be run on Linux operating system. The device can be used in Aadhar authentication and controlling a robot from a distant place also, the official said.

The HRD Ministry wants to make the device available to students free of cost. For this, it is trying to encourage the state governments to join the Centre in subsidising the tablet further.

“We need states to be on board to provide these devices free of cost. We are trying to persuade them,” a ministry official said.

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