Aakash 1 the first low cost tablet – made in India was a complete failure and now the Indian Government has decided to let the PSU (Public Sector Enterprises) manufacture the improved Aakash version called Aakash 2.

Like me many of you might have already pre-booked the Aakash 2 (Ubislate 7+) and are still waiting for the delivery which will happen only when you get a call from Datawind and the order is re-confirmed. But it seems that you may never get a call from Datawind or in fact the delivery may never take place. Just in case you do get a call for the Ubislate 7+ order confirmation from Datawind, it would be wise to cancel the order.

The super cheap Aakash tablet had many issues ranging from bad touchscreen quality, slow processing to very low battery life. Out of the first lot the Indian ministry had already rejected 3000 tablets on quality grounds and even the IIT students who tested the tablet were not happy with the performance.  The Ministry is also not happy with Datawind as they started selling the tablet online before supplying it to the Government.

The Aakash 1 a 333 MHz tablet is not powerfully enough to run the android OS. It will take just few minutes for any user to understand that Rs. 2,500 has just gone down the drains. The GOVT is now looking for PSU for manufacturing the Aakash 2 tablet (Ubislate 7+) at the same cost. Datawind is not keen in upgrading the features as they believe it would increase the cost.

Improved Aakash 2 tablet
Improved Aakash 2 tablet

The GOVT wanted an improved version of Aakash 2 with a 700 or 800 MHz processor and some additional functionally as compared with the Aakash 1. But now it seems the demand for quality has gone up, the GOVT is now looking for a 1.2 GHz processor with a minimum battery life of up to 8 hours, this is at par with the high end tablets available in the Indian markets, but for the cost under Rs. 3000. Moreover there are some new requirements like the tablet should work at -20 degrees, should be waterproof and should withstand drops.

Is it possible to provide a tablet with the improved features at $35? Well I am not sure if it is but there are a lot of things missing for example the basic – built in speaker and mic, built in cameras and 3G connectivity. Wi-Fi option is good but can someone explain how the students in rural or in fact even in many urban areas surf using Wi-Fi without hotspots?

Aakash project sounds too confusing. There is the ministry who wants the tablet at $35 price and the technical experts who wants features that will at least make it usable. Surprisingly some of the demands of the technical experts are just too much which is difficult to achieve at the target price.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal wants a better version at $35. The whole bidding process has started again. So avoid the Aakash 2 tablet sold by Datawind and wait for more news.

There are low cost Aakash tablet alternatives that can you look for in fact if Aakash tablets were to include all these features that would probably cost the same. You can also wait for the next Aakash 2 tablet but I am not sure when that will happen, I hope it happens in 2012.

By Rajeev Rana

Founder and Chief Editor - gogi.in